By Adam Smith, Trail Rides & Earn-a-Bike Program Manager
As cyclists, we all know the feeling of flying through the forest, on a coast line or just down the road on our bikes. It feels like magic.
It isn’t often that we ride with out of state youth agencies, but when Envision Atlanta arrived in the Bay Area, we were thrilled to take them on a joyous and impactful tour of China Camp State Park. Envision Atlanta is a Christian ministry organization that “identifies and develops missional leaders who innovate, establish, and strengthen communities of faith in key urban environments.” Jerry Chang - their agency leader - grew up in the Bay Area and used to frequent TFKM with a previous youth agency. Needless to say, he was thrilled to introduce his young men from Atlanta to the magic of a Trips for Kids trail ride!
And a magic ride it was. Though it was their first time riding off-road, the young men between 16 - 19 years old, took to mountain biking like fish to water. It helped that many were competitive athletes, and the 4.5 mile ride out to the China Camp village was completed in record time. Of course, between the quick pedaling, there were moments to stop and take in the serenity of nature. On the bridge, we paused and listened to the sounds of the forest, reflecting on what a difference even one minute of connecting to the natural world can make in our daily lives.
All of the young men in the group immigrated to the US from their home countries in Africa and Asia, and most had never ventured far beyond the metro Atlanta area. Their excitement and appreciation for this experience was ever present and captured nicely by Gilbert when he said: “Today, on this beautiful trail we were on, you just get to enjoy the views and have a little chill moment, and just get to think about and reflect on yourself a little bit, ya know?... I’m just thankful that we all got to enjoy this time.”