WeCycle, the Atlanta Non-Profit Bike Collective

By Christopher Ashley

Imagine you’re a newly qualified teacher and you’ve found work in a deprived neighbourhood – there are challenging behaviours to deal with, and the kids appear restless, unfocused, and maybe even leaderless. Obviously, you realise these kids need to get out on their bikes.

Lead by example

Shawn Walton knows first-hand the effect cycling has on your mind, body, and soul – after all, he commuted over 10 miles a day to college by bike. So, when training as a teacher, he recognised that he wasn’t dealing with bad kids. Just kids that needed direction, and an outlet for their energy. Shawn realised that these kids needed to do the bike thing.

Shawn started organising bike rides with local kids in his community, and this developed into maintenance workshops and even a community farm. Soon, other initiatives started to collaborate with WeCycle, including this Hello Spring ride, and SouLightYoga. Mind, body, and soul.

Roots and shoots

WeCycle actively and unashamedly engages with the black community in Atlanta but also works with international NGOs to engage with youths around the world, including a bamboo bike manufacturing plant in Ghana.

As well as having a positive effect on Ghana’s economy, the bamboo bikes are made available for purchase in Atlanta by WeCycle, so that environmentally conscious cyclists can opt for renewable frame material, with surprisingly comfortable ride quality.

Take pride in building communities

WeCycle builds bridges with other cycling communities like Red Bike and Green who moved to Atlanta in 2012. The more adult-focussed collective compliments WeCycle perfectly, giving kids a lifestyle to aspire to, providing support to the community well into adulthood. Meet Mohammed who shows us his steel lugged Peugeot.

There may be slicker videos available, but I love the energy and joy captured by WeCycle. It’s uncomplicated and shows that a great community is just a bunch of people who’ve decided to make a change – starting with themselves. They just want to bring you along for the ride. Who could resist?