My name is Nathan Lavergne and I have been riding bikes for 10 years. I’ve also been working on bikes since I was 9 and it’s a fun hobby. Now I’m about to graduate high school and go to school to learn auto mechanics. Since I’ve gotten older I don’t consider working on bikes a hobby – it’s more like my job.
When I was 14 I finally ventured out on long bike rides which made my biking experience more fun – although I did find many problems when riding around or near the city. People didn’t respect the bikers including myself. For example: I got screamed at by a lady on the side walk because I didn’t know you couldn’t ride on the sidewalk.
I live in Springfield Mass . Yes some roads have bike lanes, but people don’t always respect that. When riding in the city you always need to be on the lookout or you can get hit by a car.
Right now we are starting to take action as not many people respect us bikers, possibly because of how the young ones in the biking community treat the streets. The more experienced riders try to work with the younger ones, but at times it seems like young kids have no respect for cars. After all, we can’t stop them because we have no place to put these big groups of kids.
One good idea is building a BMX / skate park and this will definitely help because a lot of kids will go there.
In 2017 I found Rad Springfield where I now work as a community mechanic and youth coordinator. This community bike shop has changed me a lot. Having a shared set of tools and resources has taught me a lot more about bikes. New friends both older and younger than me have helped me build up my communication skills.
It feels good to know you work in a place where you can teach others about bikes. I think Rad Springfield is bringing a change to Springfield. In the future there will be more respect for bikers and the community will definitely benefit from this.
That is when Rad comes into play because we are here to help and figure out ways to move these groups of kids out of traffic and into safety.