By Lissa Eidelman and the Bike to Teach Tour Team
It was 7:30 AM last Monday, when CEI staff convened outside of the Devos Bicycle Center. Instead of conducting research and running the Institute, this group would spend the week biking to teach across the island. Our research and sustainability initiatives are only as powerful as the communities they reach. CEI staff wanted to get the word out about the work we do on the Cape.
Over four days, sixteen of us (researchers, interns, administrators, and educators) cycled 100 miles to inspire Bahamian youth to affect positive change. Our team of cyclist-educators stopped at six Eleutheran schools to deliver presentations and workshops. During the workshops, students assembled aqauponics systems, experimented with biodiesel, collected cans for recycling, and learned how to fillet invasive Lionfish. They also assembled bicycle wheels and took a closer look at cycling as a primary form of transportation.
While the tour is called Bike to Teach, it could also be called Bike to Learn. The experiences we shared in the schools, on the road, and with our home-stay families not only made us better community members, but helped to inform our research with knowledge and understanding.
This trip was only possible because of the hospitality and generosity of the Cape Eleuthera Foundation, the Bahamian families that hosted us along the way, and the schools that opened their doors to us. The tour used a waste vegetable oil biodiesel-powered van to carry curriculum materials, luggage, and food.