Outride’s 5th Annual Research Summit - Thanks for Joining!
Outride hosted its 5th Annual Research Summit this past July 28th, with over 600 registrants and 22 presentations, all participating virtually. This year's summit, Advancing Youth and Community Well-Being through Cycling, covered topics as wide ranging as measuring brain activation and youth development, to programmatic models centering youth voice, to cycling as a social justice issue. It was a first-of-its-kind convening of individuals, researchers, community organizations, and educators all speaking to the importance of diversifying the next generation of cyclists and taking an active role in well-being and futures of youth—by getting them on bikes!
Summit participants represented 41 states and nations from across the globe--including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Portugal, Brazil, Uruguay, and Canada. Researchers shared the power of cycling to boost attention and feelings of energy and to increase social connection. Other speakers shared memorable and life-changing experiences—riding bikes and empowering women in Afghanistan, mobility and mastering the spark of community engagement from South Carolina to California, and intertwining youth programming with the cultures and practices of the Navajo and Zuni Nations.
Below you will find highlights from each of the six sessions. However, for those who were unable to attend in July, we also encourage you to listen for yourself—replays of the Summit are available on Youtube. When you’re done taking in all of these findings, go for a ride and process the capacity for bikes to change the world! Channel your inner-youth, and remind yourself of how transporting riding a bike can be. As Dr. Esther Walker, Outride Research Manager, relayed from a student:
“Riding a bike is pure joy, like swimming through the forest on land”. - Riding for Focus student
Session 1: OUTRIDE’s Origins — The Brain on Cycling
Dr. Allan Reiss, Stanford professor and practicing medical professional, shared he still prescribes cycling and physical activity as adjunct therapy for ADHD. His team delved deep into the importance of physical activity for brain health, and shared how they are using new, state-of-the-art ultra-portable devices to measure the benefits of cycling and how it lights up the brain.
Patrick O’Connor, Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia shared a take home message that those with low energy who exercise for at least 20 minutes at a low to moderate intensity realize the biggest boost in energy. A great reason to get out for a short ride when you can!
Outride’s Research Manager, Esther Walker, covered what we have learned across our Riding for Focus programs in 2020 including baseline trends and student and teacher experience with the program. The vast majority of participating students were interested in continuing riding outside of school, highlighting the importance of providing youth with access to bikes and pathways to engage with their communities by bike.
Professor Tristan Wallhead from the University of Wyoming wrapped up the session, presenting on the impact that in-school cycling programs can have on students’ motivation to participate in extra-curricular cycling opportunities. While in-school cycling opportunities can help maintain positive attendance and engagement in Physical Education class, peer participation was a powerful predictor of participation in extra-curricular riding opportunities.
Altogether, the session made a few things clear: youth love cycling, especially with friends, and it’s good not just for their brains, but also good for their bodies, their confidence and their motivation!
Session 1 Speakers:
Allan Reiss, Howard C. Robbins Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Radiology, Aaron Piccirilli, Research Data Analyst, and Stephanie Van Riper, Postdoctoral Fellow (Stanford University)
Pat O’Connor, Professor of Kinesiology (University of Georgia)
Esther Walker, Research Manager (Outride)
Tristan Wallhead, Professor, Tamara Abu-Ramadan, Clinical Psychology Graduate Research, Cynthia Hartung, Professor (University of Wyoming)
LISTEN TO SESSION 1 HERE
Session 2: Cycling for Change Around the World
Susan Bornstein of World Bicycle Relief shared Wheels of Change, the trial conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action assessing the effectiveness of bicycles on a girl’s education and empowerment in rural Zambia for scaling up to reach millions of students in developing regions world-wide. For more insight and inspiration watch this powerful video, Scholastica’s Race Against the Sun. Her school received Buffalo Bicycles through the Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP) to help overcome the barrier of distance. She was one of the first beneficiaries.
Shannon Galpin, founder of Combat Apathy, first visited Afghanistan in 2008 and was the first woman to ride a mountain bike there. In 2008, women were not even permitted to ride bikes! Fast forward to 2021, Shannon is immersed as an activist in supporting the first generation of women riding bikes in Kabul as part of the Afghan National Cycling Team. And now, despite the persistence of old stereotypes and physical harassment, young women in Afghanistan are taking a stand and riding bikes, changing their culture, and making history on two wheels.
Alex Baum of BYCS closed out the session, highlighting the idea that “a city planned and programmed for infants, toddlers, and caregivers, is a city fit for all”. Alex summarized the benefits and barriers of cycling for caregivers, as well as recommendations to address such barriers. To read more about this work, check out BYCS’ report on this topic here.
Session 2 Speakers:
Susan Bornstein, World Bicycle Relief, Global Director, Institutional Partnerships & Influence
Shannon Galpin, Combat Apathy, Founder
Alex Baum, BYCS, Global Networks Manager
LISTEN TO SESSION 2 HERE
Session 3: Youth Development and Cycling
Professor Sean Wilson of Loma Linda University and the Youth Cycling Association opened the session and provided an overview of the youth cycling ecosystem within the United States. He identified gaps and opportunities to promote and develop cycling among younger populations and highlighted the importance of enhancing accessibility and maximizing engagement (the “fun” factor)!
David Taylor and Kori Gamble shared the success of Momentum Bike Clubs, launched in 2010, and how they use bikes as a tool to foster positive youth development. Over 150,000 miles have been ridden with an investment of 15,000 hours in building relationships, with over 2,500 group rides completed. Kori’s determination to stick with the program resulted in her proudly sharing, “I can now ride 20 miles” and being awarded the 2020-21 Momentumus Maximus Award Recipient for her inspirational story. Following David and Kori, Thomas Clanton and Professor Charles Chancellor (Clemson University) dove into what positive youth development (PYD) is, and how the bicycle is used as a PYD mechanism within Momentum Bike Clubs. You can read more about their work in their recently published paper here.
NICA Senior Coach Licensing Manager Mike McGarry and Melissa Davies, NICA Adventure Coordinator highlighted the three-fold goals as the golden rule in coaching to build character --know it takes time, requires practice and is a life-long process.
Session 3 Speakers:
Sean Wilson, Associate Professor (Loma Linda University)
David Taylor, Director and Kori Gamble, Student (Momentum Bike Clubs)
Thomas Clanton, Assistant Professor of Sport &Recreation (Young Harris College) and Charles Chancellor, Associate Professor (Clemson University)
Mike McGarry, Senior Coach Licensing Manager and Melissa Davies, NICA Adventure Coordinator (NICA)
LISTEN TO SESSION 3 HERE
Session 4: Beyond Bicycling — Lessons for Building Community
Tavaghn Monts, Associate Director of Momentum Bike Clubs and Anitra Alexander, Graduate Research Assistant at Clemson University, shared their incredible work with ART+ Circles, an art-based intervention program that helps youth process racial trauma. The program helps empower youth to understand systemic racism, power, and privilege. Follow their work to learn more about their Social Justice Youth Development curriculum!
Tiana Cahini with the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project (ZYEP) gave us all a lesson in what it is like growing up in Zuni Pueblo. This population includes 2,900 youth with 50% below the poverty line and 75% that know how to speak Zuni. Today, there is a balance to preserving the history and heritage of this sacred land and people. Tiana and Josh Kurdna shared that ZYEP focuses on a strengths-based program approach, emphasizing the entire community, reflecting the Zuni values with full respect of the land. Compared to students not involved in ZYEP programs, ZYEP students saw higher grades in school, higher levels of physical activity, and less use of alcohol in addition to being more knowledgeable about Zuni culture and history.
Ashleigh Claw and Tyrell Konico of the Native Health Initiative shared their experience with the Running Medicine program. Participants saw improvements in measures of physical, mental/emotional, spiritual/cultural health, as well as in measures of social connectedness. In order to create and replicate such successful programs, they highlighted the critical importance of providing free or low-cost, inclusive spaces for movement that are culturally relevant within communities.
Lucas Elliot, a doctoral student at The Pennsylvania State University, is compiling data on US Bicycle Coalition/Advocacy Organization’s capacity for programming in underserved populations. Coalitions are critical to creating active commuting environments and active communities around the United States, yet many have not prioritized equity-related issues. Elliot highlighted the importance of working to develop and sustain partnerships with organizations that are already serving underserved communities and importance of developing trust with communities.
Session 4 Speakers:
Tavaghn Monts, Associate Director (Momentum Bike Clubs) and Anitra Alexander,Graduate Research Assistant (Clemson University)
Tiana Cachini, Activity Leader and Josh Kudrna, Physical Activity Coordinator (Zuni Youth Enrichment Project)
Ashleigh Claw, Communications Director and Tyrell Konico, Leader/Summer Intern (Native Health Initiative)
Lucas Elliott, Doctoral Student (The Pennsylvania State University)
LISTEN TO SESSION 4 HERE
Session 5: Promoting Access and Safety Through Policies and Programs
Dr. Julian Reed, professor at Furman University, presented a review of programs that aim to improve access to trail for youth from under-resourced communities. The project, supported by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), highlighted the many barriers to trail use, and revealed a scarcity of data on the effectiveness of such programs. Programs and organizations doing work in this area could help push our understanding forward by collaborating with researchers to start to capture basic program metrics and build evaluation plans. You can read more about the work and recommendations here.
Dr. Andrea Hamre, a research associate at the Western Transportation Institute (Montana State University), brought us more light and insight into removing opportunities for traffic enforcement violence. As our country adapts and adjusts to the need for policy reform to increase transparency, she highlighted the need to recognize today there is bias in policing. She shared disparate numbers in enforcement of black cyclists and encourages us to ask information from those who are sworn in to protect and serve.
Michael Anderson of Wisconsin Bike Fed shared highlights from working with students and including youth voice in city infrastructure projects and neighborhood development. The curriculum they developed taught students to be junior urbanists to help contribute to ideas to improve infrastructure at eight school sites. Throughout the presentation, Anderson provided stunning examples of how centering youth voice made it clear that “young people have a beautiful and nuanced understand of their own needs”.
Leigh Ann Ganzar, DrPH, a postdoctoral research fellow at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin, shared her work on the STREETS project, an evaluation of citywide Safe Routes to School improvements throughout Austin. The data reveal that schools with greater numbers of policies and practices that promote walking and biking to school tend to have higher proportions of students who engage in active commuting. Beyond built infrastructure improvements, school policy can play a key role in promoting active transportation, and Ganzar shared some recommendations to improve such school policies.
Session 5 Speakers:
Julian Reed, Professor of Health Sciences (Furman University)
Michael Anderson, Program Manager (Wisconsin Bike Fed)
Leigh Ann Ganzar, Postdoctoral Fellow (UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin)
Andrea Hamre, Research Associate (Western Transportation Institute - Montana State University)
LISTEN TO SESSION 5 HERE
Session 6: Measuring for Change + Elevating Youth Voices
Erin Ayala, PhD, a sport psychologist at Premier Sport Psychology, shared her work on the development of a new assessment for athlete wellness and performance. Critically, the new assessment takes into account not only athletic performance, but also highlights the importance of understanding athlete mental health.
Rebecca Davies is the Bicycle Networks Data Manager for the national bike industry organization PeopleForBikes. Rebecca introduced the Bicycle Network Analysis tool, which is software that lowers the barriers to conducting a bicycle network analysis in your area. She walked us through an example of how the tool could be used to examine opportunities for safety improvements around schools, as if there are safe routes, more kids will ride.
Closing out the day were representatives from the National Youth Bike Council (NYBC), whose mission is to drive, promote, and advocate for cycling, bike safety, education, and youth leadership. Bria Brown shared the tragic loss of a student in a bike crash that prompted her to expand bike safety efforts and bike safety education in the Atlanta region along with infrastructure and family awareness on how they get to school. She stated, “No matter where you are—city, state, country, you have to be aware of what’s around you and how to navigate traffic.” Bria also shared a video of herself, along with Job Funches and NYBC President Joshua Funches, that inspired us with their life experiences with bikes and how they made a difference in their lives. The NYBC is currently gearing up for their Youth Bike Summit in October – you can learn more about it here!
Session 6 Speakers :
Erin Ayala, Sport Psychologist (Premier Sport Psychology)
Rebecca Davies, Bicycle Networks Data Manager (PeopleForBikes)
Bria Brown, Job Funches, Joshua Funches (National Youth Bike Council)
LISTEN TO SESSION 6 HERE
Closing Remarks and Heartfelt Thanks!
On behalf of the Outride Team, we thank all our speakers and participants for spending the day with us and sharing your inspirational stories, efforts, results, and powerful testimonies on how bicycling has made a change in the lives of youth around the world. We have great hope for your program's success in changing our world that is attributable to your dedication and passion for getting more kids on bikes!
Presentation Recordings: For those of you who missed a session, or for those who couldn’t be present last week, you can now find all of the recordings on our YouTube channel.