Together, we can send more Major Taylor students to STP

By Matt Metcalf, Major Taylor Project Coordinator, with support from Rachel Edlund, Development Intern

"STOPPING!" Twelve high school students screamed in unison in the 100-degree heat. 

On the road to Portland, we do everything together. We ride together. We sweat together. We lie in the grass together and wonder, "what got us here?!" 

What do I remember from the 206-mile, 2014 Seattle to Portland ride with the Major Taylor Project crew? Mostly pouring sweat, radiating smiles and beaming pride. The Major Taylor Project students demonstrated their exceptional group riding skills which they had been working on for over three months. 

The Major Taylor Project (MTP) is a year-round, youth development cycling program produced by the Cascade Bicycle Club Diversity & Inclusion department, integrating bicycling, healthy living, bicycle maintenance, road safety awareness and the importance of working toward individual goals. MTP is focused on introducing youth from diverse communities to recreational cycling and creating an inclusive culture of bicycling. The Major Taylor Project uses the bicycle to help students expand their worldview and encourages them to explore the agency they have to change themselves and their communities.

The 2015 Group Health Seattle to Portland presented by Alaska Airlines will be MTP's seventh year of riding together, and my third year with the privilege of joining them on this amazing adventure. 

It's a wonderful thing to witness. The students ride alongside their friends, forming bonds through physical and mental challenge (some might call it suffering), and accomplishing what many considered impossible. 

And we do it all together. 

Last year, 24 excited students from five south-end high schools rode from Seattle to Portland, some of them for the first time.

Others, like Katy Bruce, have done the ride before and are excited to return and connect with this year's MTP students. Katy participated in Major Taylor at Highline High School and is now studying Marine Biology at Highline College. This will be Katy's fourth STP.

When reflecting on her own experience with Major Taylor, Katy said, “I got more confidence in my riding. When I first started out, I could barely make it up a hill…. by junior year, I could go all the way up without stopping.”

The students have to work together and support each other on the long ride. Katy noted the group gained teamwork skills and learned "a lot about biking and biking with other people.”

This year, we have double the participants. Fifty students will take on the challenge to ride STP, and our staff will take on the logistical challenge of doubling our crew, including feeding 50 teenagers (no one wants to have a hangry teenager on their hands, trust me).

With your support, Major Taylor Project will continue to reach more students and give them this once-in-a-lifetime experience of riding STP. $500 covers registration, food, overnight lodging and transportation back to Seattle. Your generous donation of $150, $50, or any other amount will go towards supporting MTP students in achieving this amazing goal.

Please give today and support Major Taylor Project. 

Give online or mail your donation to:

Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation
7787 62nd Ave NE
Seattle, WA  98115

Thank you for your support! Together, we are improving lives through bicycling.