PRESS RELEASE: Silver Stallion Bikes
Many opportunities that people in the U.S. take for granted do not readily exist for Native Reservation communities. Across the combined 29,500+ square miles of Diné (Navajo) land there isn’t a single bicycle shop. Residents must travel to towns as far as Gallup to find support. The first bike shop on Hopi land, Mesa Edge Bikes, was recently opened by Manny Chavaria, also featured in this article as a mobile ride mechanic. With the health emergency restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, such travel has become even more difficult.
Silver Stallion Bicycle & Coffee Works, Inc., a 501(c)3, seeks to offset these and other systemic challenges, made even more apparent by the COVID-19 emergency, that halt bicycle industry access and participation in Gallup, NM and across Diné lands . In late August, the Silver Stallion received a grant from the New Mexico Economic Development Department to do free bike repair on the Navajo Nation, as a form of COVID-19 relief. The Stallion and the Economic Development Department Outdoor Recreation Initiative believe cycling is an important way for folks to enjoy their homelands, get exercise, and have fun during the pandemic.
From the New Mexico Economic Development Department press release, August 28
|‘The Economic Development Department saw this opportunity and made this award quickly to help this bike repair business get started as soon as it is safe to do so,’ Cabinet Secretary Keyes said in September. ‘As far as we know there are no other bike repair opportunities like this in the Gallup area. The Mobile Ride Center will be providing a valuable service to get kids outside on safe and reliable bicycles.’ |
‘McKinley County was one of the hardest hit counties in our nation from the COVID-19 health emergency,’ ORD Director Axie Navas said. ‘This grant from the state, plus the other investments from the Outride Fund and Catena Foundation, will help Diné youth get back on their bikes for the transportation and recreational benefits they provide.’
In addition to the grant from the state, the Southwest Indian Foundation donated a delivery truck and the Catena foundation awarded the Stallion with a grant to cover the truck’s operating costs. Late this summer, Stans-Pivot Pro Team mechanic, Myron Billy, travelled to Gallup to outfit the Stallion’s freshly donated truck as a mobile bike shop.
Myron Billy sets up the Stallion Mobile Ride Center to function as a full service bike repair shop - Credit: Shaun Price
From September to November, Billy and the crew from the Stallion held thirteen repair events, repairing 425 bikes in seven different communities across the Navajo Nation. Events were hosted by community members at Navajo Nation chapter houses and community schools. The Silver Stallion’s mobile repair center was a grassroots movement that was led by Diné mechanics and riders Myron Billy, Lorenzo Manuelito, Frank Cook, Terence Yazzie, MT Garcia, Shaun Marcus, AJ Murphy, and Randy Bitsue along with Hopi Nation mechanic, rider, and United Bicycle Institute graduate Manny Chavaria. Scott Nydam and Tim Morris of the Silver Stallion also helped at the events this fall. Billy’s experience working on the World Cup mountain bike circuit was critical to the operation’s success in getting so many bikes rideable and he served as an invaluable mentor for the other mechanics. The Silver Stallion used donated parts from Stans No Tubes, ESI Grips, Squirt Lube, Sram, Slime, and the Clif Bar Pro Team along with salvaged parts off old bikes to do many of their repairs. The crew were experts at freeing seized freehubs, outfitting bikes with new cables and housing, and sliming tubes for the abundant local goatheads.
AJ Murphy teaches Wyatt James about tubeless tires - Credit: Shaun Price
Many of the repair events occurred in conjunction with the Diné Composite NICA team practices in Many Farms, AZ and Chinle, AZ. Vincent Salabye of Nazlini, AZ is the Head Coach of Diné Composite and started the team with Nydam and the Silver Stallion. The Catena foundation also supports the Diné Composite through their grant award to the Stallion. Working with Diné Composite and Bureau of Indian Education community schools, the Silver Stallion hopes to build a ‘Mobile Ride Center’, where kids’ rides can have mechanic support and infrastructure to sustain.
The Stallion crew believes in bikes so strongly because they love riding them. The mechanics and community members looked forward to sneaking in a ride at most events.
The crew in Leupp AZ - Credit: Shaun Price
Terence Yazzie goes surfing, Many Farms AZ - Credit: Shaun Price
The Silver Stallion crew ended the bike repair season feeling successful; reception from the communities they worked in, and with, was overwhelmingly positive - to the point where they had to cut off the intake of bikes early at almost every event.
For Spring 2021, the Silver Stallion hopes to continue free bike repair, operating with the belief that cycling is one of the best ways for kids and communities to recreate and find joy during the pandemic. The Stallion also received such a positive response from this fall, that it was evident how essential the service of bike repair is across Diné lands. In addition to Spring 2021 free mobile bike repair, the Silver Stallion is fundraising for five kids’ mountain bike team-based groups modeled after their partners at Durango Devo. To support both efforts you can donate to the Silver Stallion Pledgeling fundraiser here
. The Silver Stallion is also accepting in-kind donations for bikes and parts for their Devo kids teams. Please visit our website
for more information.
[PI=1983538 width=text0] Myron Billy smiles with his eyes - Credit: Shaun Price[/PI]
The Silver Stallion would like to thank Stans No Tubes, ESI Grips, Squirt Lube, Sram, Park Tool, and Chris Mathis at the Clif Bar Pro Team along with the Catena Foundation, the Outride Fund, and the Southwest Indian Foundation for their contributions towards bicycle infrastructure in Gallup, NM and the Navajo Nation.
: @silverstallionbicyclecoffee @shaunmarcus @dineh_mtb @gallupmtb / @durango.devo / @outride / @stansnotubes / @clifproteam / @squirtlubeusa / @srammtb
/ @esigrips / @parktoolblue