On Wednesday July 19, Pathfinders from the First Nations Waste Minimization Team and staff from Winnipeg Trails visited Black River First Nation to participate in a ‘Bike Rodeo’ event, as part of their Treaty Days celebration. The Winnipeg Trails team led a bike repair workshop, while Pathfinders organized fun and competitive races on both the speed and skill courses they designed.
As a team dedicated to providing support for waste reduction and diversion in First Nation communities, ‘repair’ is one of the 7 R’s that our team looks to emphasize. Repairing damaged goods instead of tossing them in the landfill is a key component of waste diversion. In First Nation communities this can be a challenge though. Financial limitations and remote geography can serve as a barrier to accessing the right tools and people needed to repair damaged goods. This event was a great success because we were able to connect people with years of bike repair experience to a community needing their services. The Winnipeg Trails team didn’t just fix the bikes, they instructed others how to perform the repairs themselves. Approximately 15-20 bikes were fixed over the course of the workshop. This capacity building will hopefully encourage future knowledge sharing among Black River bike enthusiasts. To ensure the continuation of the learning that took place at this event we left excess bike parts and tools at the recreation centre for community members to use as needed.
We weren’t sure what the weather was going to do in the afternoon, but fortunately the rain stopped and gave us an opportunity to get outside and put these newly tuned-up bikes to the test. Pathfinders set up two courses designed to test the riders speed, endurance, and control. For the speed and endurance course, we utilized the running track beside the school. We placed pylons at different intervals to create a number of options for race duration. We had approximately 100m, 200m and 400m race lengths. For the skills course, we set up pylons inside the race track on the grass. The skills course featured lots of weaving between pylons, and even a fun teeter-totter feature for the older youth! The race portion of the day featured youth as young as five, all the way to young adults. It was great to see the competitors supported by a good crowd of spectators!
We would like to extend our deepest thanks to Black River First Nation for allowing us to participate in their Treaty Days celebration, and in particular, Recycling Coordinator Stacy Starr, who organized and pushed for the bike repair workshop and races to be part of their Treaty Days events. We would also like to thank the Winnipeg Trails team for the great work they did. We had a great time working together and we hope we can work together again in the future to build on the momentum generated at Black River’s 2023 Bike Rodeo.