Donovan Caputo and Ashley Batchelor check into the 2011 Youth Bike Summit in New York City
Batchelor and Caputo prepare for their first subway ride.

Two Tucson youth cyclists are in New York City for the country’s first Youth Bike Summit.

Below are Donovan Caputo and Ashley Batchelor’s accounts and photos from the first day and a half of the summit.

They are being accompanied by BICAS’ Kylie Walkzak and Ignacio Rivera de Rosales.

Caputo prepares for an indoor bike race

From Donovan Caputo.

Friday, January 14, 2011

We arrived in New York at 5 p.m. but it took us nearly two hours to take the subway from the airport to the areas of the conference. As we were walking from the subway stop in Manhattan, we realized we hadn’t eaten all day and had to stop for a slice of real New York pizza. We got to The New School and checked in. Once we had done that we went up to the fifth floor to the opening of the weekend. We got there and greeted people; I was surprised at how many people were excited to see us. There was a crowded room with food, drinks, and a stationary bike race set up. I ate some food then signed up for the stationary race. I got on a gray All-City track bike with bullhorns and raced against a kid from Boston, twelve and a half seconds later I had beaten the record course time. It was a very exciting start to the three day trip.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

When we arrived at the summit in the morning there were bagels and such for breakfast. Everyone was then gathered into an auditorium to view a few keynote speakers including the transportation commissioner for NYC Janette Sadik-Khan, an 18-year-old former intern of Recycle-A-Bicycle, and the executive director of Recycle-A-Bicycle, Pasqualina Azzarello who used to live in Tucson and painted the mural out front of BICAS many years ago.

We had all decided to go to different presentations for each session. The first session I went to was given by Bikes Not Bombs. Their presentation was done primarily by four youth bike ambassadors. Their organization is very similar to BICAS, although they operate internationally. We presented during the second session, we had a slideshow of photos and I told my story, Ashley told hers, and we opened up for a question and answer segment. The questions started getting slow just as we were out of time. It went really well and everyone got a lot out of it.

Batchelor is interviewed by a Streets Films crew.

From Ashley Batchelor. Thoughts on New York City…

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to get to Ingacio’s house by 6:15 to make it to the air port by 7 to leave by 8 and take a 25 minute flight to Phoenix, only to have 4 more hours to spend on an airplane crammed between Donnovan, and a couple tiny windows. Did I also mention that I HATE airplanes? We got to New York by 3 p.m. Tucson time, 5 p.m. New Yorker time. Ignacio kept telling us it was gonna be cold, but come on, we all know how much Ignacio just likes to talk. So we walk to the subway station from the airport, and the like 2 seconds I spend outside isn’t that bad, so New York really must not be that cold. Well we finally reach our destination (after more than an hour) and we manage to find our way out of the subway terminal, and when we get outside I realize its like probably less than 28 degrees outside. 28 degrees. I don’t know a better way to describe what 28 degrees feels like than, I literally got brain freeze from breathing in the cold air. Don’t laugh, I know it sounds silly, but the sensation I got from breathing in all that cold air was the same sensation I get from drinking an Eegee too quick. I have not adapted for this weather.

But all of these buildings are large and glorious. This city has a strange charm that lies within the trash in the snow, and the locals’ quick talk (which personally I have a hard time understanding.) It’s no Tucson, you can’t even compare the two, but I have a hard time hating it. Aside from the weather I mean. Winter is not suppose to require big heavy jackets and wooley socks, but rather short sleeve t-shirts, and the occasional pair of pants when the weather creeps under 75. This city is a big living breathing mechanism, with the scary subway system being its bowels. I’d recommend anyone who cares to visit does, but if at all possible perhaps not in the winter.

I expect to hear Batchelor and Caputo one more time before they leave New York and will post whatever they send. In the meantime, check out the rest of the photos in the gallery.

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