Interview with Mike White, Founder of the Ruach Bicycle Club
This is the first installment of our new Community Spotlight Series, that aims to highlight the incredible work being done here in Pittsburgh to uplift our communities and promote equity and inclusion in cycling.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started!
My name is Mike White, I’m from Pittsburgh and I grew up in Homewood. I am a Entrepreneur and Cyclist. The idea for the Ruach Bike Club started back in 2017, when I was a coach at a private middle school. At the end of the season I wanted to take the team out on a bike ride in Frick Park. All the players returned their permission slip, but the day of the bike ride everybody didn’t show up. So, Monday at practice I seen the students that didn’t show up for the ride and asked them what happened. And they all said, “Coach Mike, I don’t have a bike”. I said “OK don’t worry about it, come next Saturday I’ll have a bike for you.” I went out and got bikes for all the players who didn’t have a bike.
2. That’s awesome. So what is the Ruach Bicycle Club now? When did it start to develop into more than just riding bikes?
Today Ruach Bicycle Club is a STEM based Bike Club that focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math skills and how it all works in bikes. I would hear the counselors and the teachers talk to the students about Science Technology Engineering and Math opportunities and I knew bikes would be a good way to tie them both together. It’s something the kids are already interested in, so Ruach provides a space for them to come together and bike, as well as learn.
3. How many students are involved now? Who can join?
As of today we have served 75 students. Our club members are between the ages of 6 to 17. And it’s open to anyone under 17 who has an interest in bikes and biking.
4. What sort of things will kids learn at the Ruach Bicycle Club?
Our members will learn how to ride and race BMX bikes at South Park BMX racetrack from April to October. They will also learn how to disassemble and reassemble bikes with workshops at Pitt Community Engagement Center and The Wheel Mill in Homewood focusing on STEM learning. Club members will learn about bicycle safety, health and how to build bikes while doing STEM related projects. Our focus is to expose students to STEM principles, build their awareness and give them career and educational opportunities by working in partnership with local universities and STEM based corporations.
6. Why do you think this type of club is important to have for our community? What are your hopes for the future?
The type of education and skills provided will build confidence and help nurture problem solving skills along with making science and math more accessible and understandable for today’s youth. Hopefully we will be able to grow our club and get more members involved from other surrounding communities. Our goal is to one day be in our own facility: to hold workshops, store club bikes and equipment, and have a space of our own for club training and meetings.
9. How can people join / get involved?
You can go on our website: ruachbicycleclub.com to learn more or to sign up and become a member of our club.
10. What resources/volunteers/tools/equipment do you need to keep on going? How can people who read this article help?
- We need committed volunteers from local companies to speak with our Club members and share information about STEM opportunities.
- We need donations to help purchase more BMX Race Bikes and Team Jerseys for our members to use.
- We need after school supplies, laptops and printers to help with the students STEM research and learning.
- You can make a huge difference to our small club by making a donation on RuachBicycleClub.com