[TheThinkTank] Earn A Bike Programs

cyclista at inventati.org cyclista at inventati.org
Wed Feb 2 08:26:58 PST 2022

Dylan, I love the idea of a worksheet to keep participants focused and a 
workbook to reference for basic things; having basic reference 
materials, for instance hanging at each workstand, could also de-center 
the instructor in potentially useful ways.

Are the reference materials handy to upload as well? That would be 
interesting to see.

~cyclista Nicholas

On 2022-02-02 11:13, Dylan Horne wrote:
> Hi Y'all,
> At The Pedal Factory in Salisbury, NC, we developed a worksheet for
> Earn-A-Bike folks to work through (attached). The worksheet guides them
> through our shop mission, basic bike maintenance skills, how to select 
> a
> bike, learning the parts of the bike and common tools, as well as safe
> riding techniques. They also complete 3 volunteer tasks around the 
> shop, as
> their sweat equity contribution. Depending on the need for that day, it
> could be cleaning up, sorting parts, unloading the trailer, moving 
> bikes,
> or whatever special task might need to be done. They also breakdown one
> bike, usually a junker, to get salvageable parts for our used parts
> inventory, and to introduce them to turning wrenches. It's much easier 
> to
> have people take bikes apart than to try and teach each of them the ins 
> and
> outs of fixing up whole bikes.
> We have volunteers prepare bikes that are potential earn-a-bikes, 
> usually
> department store bikes that we value around $100. More expensive bikes 
> can
> be earned, but the participant must volunteer additional hours/tasks to
> make up the difference, or pay the difference. The volunteers get the 
> bikes
> to 90-95% ready to go, so that we can check over the bike with the
> Earn-A-Bike participant and fix a thing or two and get them on their 
> way.
> Once the worksheet is completed, the participant earns their chosen 
> bike, a
> helmet, lights and a lock. We take each person on a safety ride to 
> insure
> safe riding techniques and to answer additional questions.
> Folks must sign up for Earn-A-Bikes and we have two slots each open 
> shop
> day for Earn-A-Bikes. About 60% of people actually come back for their
> allotted time. Having folks sign up helps us to manage our time, as 
> well as
> reducing the amount of folks that just want to walk in and get a free 
> bike.
> We tell folks that it takes 6-8 hours to complete (2 shop days), but 
> some
> folks are really proficient and can finish it in 4 hours or so.
> Before this, we had a set amount of volunteer hours that must be
> completed to earn a bike. We decided to switch to the worksheet to keep
> folks focused on what they needed to accomplish, increasing most folks'
> ability to work independently. We also created some reference materials
> that contain the answers to the worksheets, so folks have a nice 
> laminated
> guide to go by.  When we had an hour based system, a lot of staff and
> volunteer time was spent trying to get people focused on productive 
> things
> instead of just waiting to get the hours.
> We have a similar program for youth, with a similar worksheet that they
> work through. We don't require youth to complete volunteer tasks or
> breakdown bikes, but some participate in these ways voluntarily.
> In 2021, 88 people completed earn-a-bikes. The worksheet system was 
> really
> helpful in delivering uniform requirements and expectations for all
> participants. It also provides a great way for us to track the 
> demographics
> and how many people utilize this service.
> Thanks,
> Dylan
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