A Virginia organization promotes cycling by teaching children everything there is to know about bikes.
“I have learned a whole lot about bikes in the two weeks that I’ve been here,” 13-year-old Caleb said. “I spent a week before this trying to learn brakes. Phoenix Bikes taught me in two days.”
Phoenix Bikes doesn’t just teach kids how to ride bikes. They teach how a bike works, how to take them apart and how to rebuild them.
“It’s kind of fun to see how it works, what it’s doing while I’m peddling my feet,” said 11-year-old Alex.
The free bike education program has been around since 2007.
“All the proceeds from the community bike shop 100 percent go to fund the youth program,” former Executive Director Meg Rapelye said.
While students learn the trade, they’re also working toward earning their own bike.
“So it’s a checklist they go through of bike skills and mechanic skills they need to refurbish a bike,” program manager Raymond Duran said.
It takes 25 hours.
“The first bike they refurbish is called a ‘give a bike,’ and it goes to one of our 12 partnered non-profits,” Duran said.
They get to keep the second bike they rebuild.
Many former students return to work in the shop as adults.
“I love it when youth either come in timid or they were kind of forced by their parents and they start by dragging their feet in the door, but within a week or two, they’re super motivated, excited,” Duran said.
The bike shop really runs on donation, so if you have an old bike just sitting in your garage, Phoenix Bikes would love to take it off your hands.
Reported by Leon Harris, produced by Michelle Montgomery and edited by Scott Eisenhuth.