Community Spotlight Series: Major Force Youth Cycling Program

Dawna Bivins Resource Coordinator and Melissa Audain-Pickett Education Coordinator of Major Force Youth Cycling Program

This is the latest installment of our new Community Spotlight Series, which aims to highlight the incredible work being done here in Pittsburgh to uplift our communities and promote equity and inclusion in cycling.

Who are you? Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in this work?

Dawna Bivins Resource Coordinator of Major Force Youth Cycling Program and Melissa Audain-Pickett Education Coordinator of Major Force Youth Cycling Program.

Tell us a little bit about the Major Force Youth Cycling Program. How does this project support your community? 

Pittsburgh Major Taylor Cycling Club (PMTCC) recognized a need to introduce safe cycling, skills, and benefit of good health habits to the underserved youth in the Pittsburgh urban region. 

In 2015 our Major Force Youth Cycling Program (MFYCP) was started by our past President Bruce Woods. It has continued to grow and become a vibrant part of the Pittsburgh cycling community. The 12-week program is an opportunity for the youth to learn safe cycling skills,  basic bike repairs, and proper fitness nutrition. At the completion of the program, each youth is awarded a brand new bicycle.

What are your hopes for the future of the Major Force Youth Cycling Program?

Our hope for the future is they continue a healthy lifestyle by becoming safe cyclists, using their brand new bike for commuting, exercise, and exploring the city and beyond.

What resources/ funding/ volunteers/tools/equipment do you need to keep on going? How can people who read this article help?

The program is sustained by the tireless efforts of our volunteer mentors who are also Pittsburgh Major Taylor members. Our partnerships with local bike shops such as Zak’s Bicycles in McKeesport and Bear Dog Bikes of Northside help sustain the mechanical maintenance of the bikes.  

Our main source of funding is our yearly fundraiser, The McDermott 3 state cycling tour. A donation can be made through our website

How can people get involved with Major Force Youth Cycling Program?

Donations are accepted through our website.
Please like us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

As with the rest of the world, the COVID pandemic caused our program to take a pause. Once we regrouped, adhered to COVID guidelines directed by the state, we restarted the program later in the season. Our youth were super resilient and participated with enthusiasm while maintaining social distancing. They learned to lean on one another, learned from each other’s differences and strengths. The bond they showed inspired us as mentors.  There was an intrinsic reward for us to see the compassion each child had for one another. To see them overcome the challenges of home, school and the pandemic reaffirmed why we mentor.

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