What “changing kids’ lives from the seat of a bike” really means
Two Wheel View is often seen as just a cycling organization. Others think we’re simply a non-profit that gives kids bikes. Even our most passionate supporters and families often talk about the organization this way and sure, to some extent, we are both of those things. But, we are also so much more.
Our vision is to ‘change kids’ lives from the seat of a bike’ and there’s a reason that changing lives’ comes first and bikes come second. That’s because our mission is to provide youth development programs that build resiliency in young people. First and foremost, we are here to help reduce the risk factors and increase the protective factors that will positively impact long-term growth and development. The bicycle is the tool we use to achieve that goal.
There are numerous youth development organizations in Calgary and beyond that all seek to improve long-term outcomes for young people. Some use books to achieve those changes, others use sports and others still use project management and goal setting as a way to help young people develop the confidence, resiliency and focus needed to fulfil their potential. We work with many of these great organizations and they have their own passions and motivations for doing what they do in the way they do it. We happen to be passionate about bikes, so we use them as a way to help us build relationships with young people and give them the opportunities to acquire the skills and develop the competencies necessary for success.
Why is the bicycle our tool for change?
Our founders, Rick and Tanya McFerrin, founded Two Wheel View in 2000 after a two-year bicycle expedition around the world. Their experiences and perspectives on the world, as seen from the seat of a bike, became the foundation for our mission and the inspiration for our programs. They saw the bicycle as a potent tool for helping young people develop the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive competencies necessary to succeed in life.
Through experiential activities and hands-on bike mechanic lessons young people can practice skills such as communication and teamwork. A “failure-friendly” and reflective environment allows kids to try new things and gain a sense of accomplishment. Our bike trips take our future leaders out of the shop and into the world where social, cultural, and environmental differences may contrast with their life back home. These challenging opportunities promote greater understanding, perseverance and self-confidence. These are the outcomes we strive for – not just giving kids bikes or the chance to hug a llama on a trip through Argentina. We create opportunities and services that support young people to develop the skills they need to thrive and transition smoothly into adulthood.
So, while nothing makes us happier than feeling the grease on our hands and the wind in our faces, we are here above all else to change kids’ lives. We just happen to do it from the seat of a bike.