Claudia Jackson and resident bike mechanics Toby Tsosie and Manny Chavarria run the SiiHasin Bike Program on Navajo Nation, which spans roughly 17 million acres across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
Bonded by their passion for cycling, they work together to rebuild and repair the bikes available to them. The rebuilding of parts and pieces is the foundation of their partnership, and of SiiHasin itself. The team spends most of their time and resources ensuring others learn how to not only ride, but care for their bikes long into the future.
Riding bikes is a new thing on the reservation. “It is a bike revolution for us,” Claudia shares.
SiiHasin means “hope” in Navajo.
A JOURNEY OF HOPE
This is the bike program’s 10th year as they head into their annual ride, the Tour de SiiHasin.
SiiHasin means “hope” in Navajo, and the ride brings the community together as an act of cultural connection and healing. The program was started by only a handful of riders to address suicide prevention on the reservation and has evolved into a community-led act of strength, wellness and togetherness.
The family of riders continues to grow larger each year celebrating the simple fact that everyone should be able to experience the joy and freedom that only a bike can bring.
“Let’s keep pedaling through life’s terrain.”
GOING FARTHER TOGETHER
Preparations are now underway for the 10th Annual Tour de SiiHasin, with months of route preparations, logistics, and community outreach. It is a ride like no other in the world, unique to the people and place that call it home.
They traverse challenging trails, riding 400 miles together through the sweltering July heat. That journey across the landscape takes you to places physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Places you might normally never go.
Claudia’s mantra, "Let's keep pedaling through life's terrain,” is the universal understanding that everyone has a mountain to ride.
And in the Navajo way of life, Hozhó—though there is no direct English translation—means remembering one’s own inner beauty. But it is an experience you cannot have alone.
“It is an experience you cannot have alone.”
TAKE A PEDAL PAUSE
Where most other rides end in a hotel lobby or at a local coffee shop, SiiHasin riders stop through farms and at community centers along the way.
They come together each night to gather for talking circles, around campfires, to share weights they may be carrying, moments of reflection, and gratitude.
This is a time that everyone looks forward to. A time of laughter and storytelling. A time to be with their bike family and friends.
FLOWERS IN THE DESERT
So this July, as the riders once again set out on their journey across the vast red rock landscape, it is a remembering and a rekindling. A gathering of collective hearts and minds riding together through the generations—and for those yet to come.
Today, multiple initiatives have blossomed from the annual ride. Like the opening of the first bike shop on Navajo Nation, in Indian Wells, Arizona.
The launch of a high school curriculum teaching students bike maintenance in partnership with Project Bike Tech. Trail design and building meetups. Women’s group rides. A boys and girls Arizona Cycling Association team, that just took part in the Arizona State competition for the first time.