Sunday, April 9: Parent and student meeting at The Bicycle Shop.
On Saturday, April 8, eleven Specialized Jynx mountain bikes arrived at The Bicycle Shop for Anchorage GRIT.
With the help of all of the employees at the shop, we built the bikes and had them ready for the parent and student meeting the following day. We wrote the girls’ names on the bike frames and parked them out front.
Team GRIT, including 11 students and 5 mentors, met for the first time on Sunday evening. The girls were surprised to find their brand new bicycles on the rack. Lindsey Hajduk and Kati Ward from Bike Anchorage gave a lesson on safe riding. We set up some cones in the parking lot and practiced general awareness and signaling.
Monday, April 10: Team GRIT meets for the first ride.
We loaded up on snacks and walked a half mile to The Bicycle Shop. Christina Grande and Sue Westfield, employees of The Bicycle Shop, gave us a tour of the oldest shop in Alaska and talked to us about fit and shifting. Then, we rode away from the shop on city streets back towards Begich Middle School. In early April, there is still quite a bit of snow on the ground, especially on the multi-use greenway trails. Team GRIT pushed through some snow near Goose Lake and Tikishla Park, but for the most part, we stuck to dry pavement. Halfway, the Steller students turned back toward their school and Begich students continued east.
All told, we rode 9 miles on pavement, gravel and snow. Even though we all got splattered with mud, everyone had fun and it wasn’t that hard. Riding through town, many drivers spotted us on our bikes. We saw Lael’s mom, Kristen Shupe from The Bicycle Shop, and Lindsey Hajduk from Bike Anchorage. It’s hard to miss 16 women and girls riding bikes through the heart of Anchorage.