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Program helps youth 'feel the support from their community'


Victor Kariuki, 14, had been with the Youth Off-Road Riders bike club only a few months when he experienced his first crash during a race earlier this year.

A month later he and his teammates joked as they prepared for a weekly ride about how the crash occurred, whether he wasn’t paying attention, slipped or missed a turn. Kariuki shrugs it off as a good story to tell and a lesson learned; he finished the race and stuck with the club.

“Everybody crashes,” Kariuki said. “You just have to get back up and keep racing.”

Kariuki and his teammates Devon Skyles, 15; Awelu Abdalla, 15; Heleem Adams, 14; and Alec Nelson, 15, participated in the Old Pi to New Pi Bike Ride, which is part of Iowa City’s Bike Month activities.

His goal is chasing down some of his faster teammates, who encouraged him to join, he said.

The club is part of the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County and run out of the Pheasant Ridge location, which serves a lower-income section of Iowa City with a concentration of immigrant families primarily from the Sudan and Jordan.

The program has gained support from the community, including from New Pioneer Co-op and Goosetown Racing Club. Geoff’s Bike and Ski in Iowa City has helped maintain the club members’ bikes and last month outfitted the team with $1,700 Specialized Crux racing bikes, which can be modified for different styles of riding.


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