“He said I couldn’t do it, because I’m deaf. So I did.”
Meet Ciara. Though originally from Texas, more recently she spent time in Tuscan, AZ commuting via bike. She moved to Arkansas 7 years ago, to be closer to family. Mountain biking wasn’t on her radar. Then an ex-boyfriend told her she couldn’t mountain bike, because she was deaf. She took the challenge, met it, raised the bar, and is generating awareness for the deaf riding community and other minority riders here in NWA.
Ciara is a Program Manager for Trailblazers. After taking-on the role as the TAP (Trail Adoption Program) Coordinator, Trailblazers realized that it was going far beyond that of a volunteer position. Over the past year, adopter numbers have grown from 200-552. These participants, under Ciara’s leadership, are busy doing light maintenance on the trails and being the eyes and ears for bigger obstacles such as downed trees. Much of her day is spent training new adopters, organizing work days, and following up on trail reports to provide GPS coordinates for trail crews.
When Ciara isn’t busy with TAP she is helping with other Trailblazers programs. For example, they are heading up a pilot BMX program at Janie Darr Elementary. Kids will learn freestyle and racing fundamentals that will directly correlate to other avenues of riding. As a community, they’ll build a pump track at the school. (Wow!) If the pilot program goes well, we can expect to see more programs like this at other schools.
Ciara doesn’t stop there, though. She also volunteers her time making strides for the deaf community. This year she was the Bikeboom Coordinator. This event was the first biking experience in Bentonville for the Deaf community. Hundreds of deaf riders had a 4 day, mountain biking experience on the trails right here in Bentonville. She’s not only a part of that deaf community. She’s been influential in raising awareness for them and other communities of minority riders.
As Ciara continues her efforts supporting the vast trails and riders of Northwest Arkansas, she has a few reminders for the community–”be respectful, trail etiquette, and pack out what you pack in”. Giving Tuesday is fast approaching. Remember that organizations like Trailblazers are non-profits. They spend their days working on the trails that you ride. So that you can continue exploring cool trails locally. Your donations allow them to continue that work, supporting this riding community spreading all throughout Northwest Arkansas.