The Rezneck Riders | WBEZ
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The New Yorker Radio Hour

The Rezneck Riders

The Navajo Nation covers over twenty-seven thousand square miles in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico; it’s an area roughly the size of West Virginia. Vincent Salabye grew up there, in a community troubled by memories of conquest by the United States Army and by persistent poverty, addiction, and despair. To grapple with these hereditary demons, Salabye came up with a novel idea: he hopped on a bike. As a kid, he once rode all the way to Texas and back: almost three thousand miles. “That's my horse,” says Vincent. “It takes me places. That's always ingrained in me. That's how my mind-set is, trying to explore the lands that I always grew up on.”

Now a new crop of cyclists on the Navajo Nation are following Salabye’s impulse, and making a new kind of bike riding called Enduro their own. It’s a dangerous, difficult, and extremely intense form of high-speed downhill racing. Enduro has given some Navajo men a new way to connect with their ancient tribal lands and to defy the hard prospects and low expectations that too often characterize coming of age on the rez.

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