Real Talk by Damu
Damu, our youth intern, offers reflections on her experience at Bike Easy
Hi, I’m Damu, a 16 year old intern at Bike Easy! Bike Easy is a non profit organization that basically makes bike riding safer in New Orleans. I first got connected with Bike Easy through Youth Empowerment Project Trafigura Bike Shop where I was a Work & Learn student. One day in the computer lab, where I was working on my resume, Brice White handed everyone a flyer looking for mechanic work. I immediately emailed Anneka @ Bike Easy to get the job.
Weeks later I got good news and was told to call Anneka to meet up! Going into Bike Easy I thought it was going to be so difficult. I was under this impression that I was going to be working in like this huge factory with a lot of business people nicely dressed in ties and Stacy Adams. I was very shocked when we met up though. It was like the perfect chill place, this table surrounded by cool people who accepted me.
Since being at Bike Easy, I’ve learned so much more useful tips. I’ve learned to ride in bike lanes carefully to where I’m not too close to opening car doors or too far in the way of passing cars. Virginia and Anneka have transformed me into a role model for kids younger than me. I help the youth adjust their helmets, show them how to scan, and ride along with them. Since I’ve been at Bike Easy I’ve learned how to power start, turning & signaling and riding in bike lanes.
I’ve witnessed that when planning events, something always goes wrong or you always forget something but you can’t break down and cry about it. Just go with what you got! From experience at bike light interventions, I learned that people really love free stuff. When they’re riding pass and I yell “free bike lights, no gimmick, its really free” they slam on brakes!
My favorite part about BikeEasy is the working and learning part. I get to go on bike rides which help me practice riding in the bike lanes. I also get to tour my city a little. I even became an expert at bike light interventions with Virginia. At first, I thought the bike rides were a little too long but now I’m totally adjusted to the exercise. Being only 16, I’m used to riding on sidewalks, running red lights, and trying to beat cars. Now I know better and I treat my life more cautiously since I’ve learned that bicycles are vehicles too! My experience at Bike Easy is just awesome.
Damu Curtis is a Youth Spokeswoman and has been interning at Bike Easy since March. Bike Easy is the work placement site for the Youth Spokeswoman role funded through NOLA Women on Bikes by way of a grant from Women Bike at the League of American Bicyclists.