[TheThinkTank] Earn A Bike Programs

Angel York aniola at gmail.com
Wed Feb 2 20:32:03 PST 2022

Dylan - I love this writeup! Can you add it to the earn-a-bike section of
the wiki?

On Wed, Feb 2, 2022 at 3:14 AM Dylan Horne <dylanrosshorne at gmail.com> 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
> --
> Dylan Horne, Ph.D.
> They / Them
> freewheelingdylan.wordpress.com
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