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Rider Profile: Melody Markle - Video

Feb 5, 2016
by Patrick Lucas  
Views: 1,511    Faves: 5    Comments: 0


The Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program (AYMBP) strives to support and encourage First Nation’s youth to participate and excel in the sport of mountain biking. Mountain biking can be a powerful tool and means for getting youth outdoors, reconnecting to nature and the land, and living healthy active lives.

In collaboration with Tree Meter Productions, the AYMBP is creating a video series profiling Aboriginal Riders. Through these videos, we hope to explore and learn about what mountain biking means to Aboriginal people.

Our first Rider Profile, Melody Markle (30), is from the Anishinabeg community of Long Point Winneway First Nation in the unceded territory of the Anishnabe Aki located in the Abitibi-Temescamingue region of Western Quebec.

Melody Markle

Melody provides an articulate and passionate description of what mountain biking and trail riding means for her as an Aboriginal woman and the impact that it has had on her life.
Melody started riding in 2008 and was immediately captivated with how it pushes and tests her courage and her bravery. As someone who strives to walk a traditional path that reflects her culture and heritage, Melody was struck by how mountain biking brings people and communities together.

“I Love the sense of community once you enter the mountain bike circle and the fact that there is a lot of welcoming mentors who are on the trail who can be complete strangers and they’re willing to show you some different techniques.

Melody believes that mountain biking has tremendous potential to have a positive impact on the health and well-being of Aboriginal communities.

It’s a healing tool for me because I know that a lot of Aboriginal people we’re walking with the effects of colonization. I consider mountain biking to be a healing journey for me in terms of decolonizing my body and entering a male dominated sport and showing the world that women can ride.”

In addition to the personal and community benefits, Melody describes how she feels there is a spiritual element to riding.

We’re closer to mother earth and we’re riding in different territories of BC and we’re honouring that relationship we have with the land.”

Melody sees a role for mountain biking for youth in Aboriginal communities and through volunteering with the Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program she’s hoping to pass her love of the sport onto the next generation.

Why not jump on a bike and go explore the endless trials that BC has to offer? I hope to inspire a lot of the young people and encourage them to take on mtn biking. I hope to definitely see a lot more youth out there.

Tree Meter Productions and the AYMBP team were honoured to speak with Markle and for her to share her stories and experiences with us. These profiles will be shared with First Nation communities to raise awareness and interest in mountain biking and encourage youth to get outdoors, reconnect with nature and live healthy active lives.

Singing and drumming by George Taylor, Kwakwaka'wakw artist and performer from Vancouver Island.

For more information contact info@aymbp.ca
www.aymbp.ca


MENTIONS: @plucas-catalyst


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21 Comments

  • + 26
 Wow, what a great ambassador, not just for aboriginals but for mountain biking in general. So well spoken and articulate, highlighting points that hit home for all of us. Also, love the logo, would hang hang that as art on my wall!
  • + 2
 Yes, a very positive vibe...what's not to love?! Was just poking around on their site...seems they had an appearance here a yr ago...missed that one. http://www.pinkbike.com/news/aboriginal-youth-mountain-bike-program-2015.html
  • + 2
 This is awesome! I often wonder what I can do as another "dude" on the trails to make mountain biking feel like less of a boy's club or to be some sort of ally, so that it doesn't feel like a competitive space.

Melody's words really resonate - I think the vast majority of riders out there, who are not interested in the competitive side of the sport, can relate to the sort of positive effects of rolling through the forest, having fun.
  • + 14
 Something a little positive and happy at the end of a week of doom and gloom.
  • + 8
 Hey, wait...I'm a 50 ( almost ) 51 yr old First Nations fellow , been riding and rec. racing ( BCBR ) last year too for 12-13 years. This sport has been nothing but good to me also !! Maybe it's time I start something like that up here in beautiful Victoria........
  • + 4
 Good work Melody! Mountain biking is a hugely positive sport and the mountain biking community is incredibly welcoming and supportive (even though it's mainly a bunch of white guys LOL). I'm Metis and I've been riding and racing for most of my life. Nothing in the world can really compare to riding in the woods as fast as you can. If you are an aboriginal kid thinking about starting I'd really like to encourage you to do it! It's a pricy sport to get into but you can always dirtbag it like I did Smile You'll be surprised by all the nice people you meet and all great places you'll see. A life without riding is a life half lived!
  • + 3
 Great program. It is initiatives like AYMBP that make us proud to be mountain bikers and highlight the real power of the sport to connect to nature and build self empowerment for life - especially if you can get youth involved in their formation years. Props to Patrick for getting AYMBP off the ground. Big shout out to PB as well for continuing to feature programs like AYMBP, Share the Ride and Trips for Kids as a positive alternative to industry news to help us remind ourselves why we really bike. Keep up the good work!
  • + 6
 Very cool. Great to see our First Nations involved. Ride a bike and love the land! Perfect match.
  • + 2
 Very well done. Exciting to read about this today. I'm a middle school teacher in BC and all young people (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) need something like mountain biking to connect us all to our natural world and to each other. The mountain bike community is such a welcoming and encouraging group. I'm 46 and my son is 15 years old. We ride together quite a bit with both my friends and his friends -- age doesn't matter (well, maybe the kids are a little less cautious!!) My 10 year old daughter is getting into it as well. This is an exciting program to hear about. More kids (or people in general) on mountain bikes will make this a much better world. Melody, is there any way for us 'dudes' to help out?
  • + 3
 Sales person: Okay, Ms. Markle, I can complete this transaction, I just need the name of your hometown for our records.
Melody: How much time do you have...
  • + 4
 Nice bike! I used to have that frame, check my profile..... don't know why I sold it!
  • + 5
 membership might be free, but my bloody bike cost a fortune Smile
  • + 3
 She's decolonising her body. I wont pretend to know what that means but she is making a positive impact in the sport and her community, which I applaud.
  • + 2
 Think of all the generational effects that colonization has had on Aboriginal people since first contact, and how each and every action of the colonists: Residential Schools, Marginalization, the reserve system has effected Aboriginal people as a whole.
  • + 4
 I have to say also, love the mountain biking symbol !!
  • + 4
 Cool to see a different sort of edit on PinkBike.
  • + 5
 Mmhm as much as I like watching pros shred it's cool to see what the sport means to melody
  • + 2
 cool! always nice to hear about stories of our stewards of nature. yeah i dig that logo too
  • + 2
 This is an amazing program... Stoked
  • + 3
 Awesome!
  • + 2
 A great article and video. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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