Not Just Spinning Wheels

Updated: Apr 5, 2019

By Jeannie Howard

Founded with goals of improving the health—mental and physical—of Richmond community members as well alleviating strain on the environment, Rich City Rides (RCR) has been using the bicycle as a catalyst for change since 2012. Since the organization’s inception, more than 6,000 individuals and families have participated in the variety of cycle-centric programs RCR offers.

Working in conjunction with the organization’s community programs, the Rich City Rides Bike Shop is the only visible entity of its kind servicing bikes in the immediate area, according to Nakari Syon, program coordinator for RCR. At the bike shop, community members are able to not only purchase new and refurbished bikes and cycling equipment but they can also learn trade skills from the various workshops RCR hosts. “The bike shop is how I fell in love with Rich City Rides,” Syon shared. “I’ve witnessed Rich City really become a pillar in the community as far as providing a safe zone for the children and offering lessons in a trade that is not heavily taught or acknowledged in this community.”

The most popular program offered, and often the first encounter many participants have with RCR, is the Self-Care Sunday social bike rides. “Every Sunday we meet in the same place, at the bike shop,” Syon said. “But each week the mileage and the course will change.” Rides are usually between eight and twenty miles and, while that may sound like a long ride to some, Syon assured that no one is ever left behind. “I find humor in telling people how many miles they road and how they realize they’re not so tired or that their body doesn’t hurt as much as they thought,” he said. “They feel inspired and obligated to come back each week.”

It is evident that those miles are about more than just fitness. “Immediately our goal is to get t