GRIC Member Organizes Bike Rides and Upcoming Tour
Gila River Indian News
After riding part of an intense bike tour last summer on the Navajo Nation, Elisha Bishop, District 3, was motivated to organize more cycling events on the Gila River Indian Community. In January, Bishop started brief Saturday morning rides and has planned a three-day bike tour in February.
Bishop rode bikes as a child, but didn’t get into cycling until the pandemic began with the help of a Community event. “Tribal Recreation had a Virtual Bike Club and I got my mom to ride with me,” said Bishop, who started riding more and began mountain biking.
Last summer, Bishop participated in a portion of the Tour de SiiHasin, a 400-mile bike ride on the Navajo Nation hosted by the SiiHasin Bike Program, which aims to support the healthy development of youth and tribal members.
“It was such an inspiring event seeing kids and families riding all day through heat, rain and up hills,” said Bishop. “I wanted to start something similar.”
The Saturday morning rides begin at 10 a.m. at the Governance Center in Sacaton and will continue through March 26. The morning rides provide “shorter and less intimidating” two-to-five-mile routes open to all ages (children must be supervised), and riders must bring their own bike and helmet. Masks are required.
Bishop also put together the upcoming Gila River Bike Tour Feb. 19 to 21, a three-day bike tour that will travel across the Community beginning at 10 a.m. in District 1 (Blackwater) at the Blackwater Community School to District 4 (Upper Santan).
Day two will start at 9 a.m. in District 4, continuing on to Wild Horse Pass before concluding at the District 7 Service Center on day three. Cyclists should expect mostly gravel and dirt terrain for the tour, which will follow along the canals and water pipes within the Community.
“I realized how far the bike can take me and I think that is one of the things I enjoy about cycling is that it can take me farther and faster than I could ever run,” said Bishop. Bishop intends on organizing more bike rides and programs in the Community, including a bike ride for the GRIC holiday and celebration of Water Rights Day in December.
All rides and tour are limited to 15 participants each day. For more information or to register for the Gila River Bike Tour, call or text Bishop at (520) 858-2774.