[TheThinkTank] Earn-a-Bike Programs

Scott Long scott.m.long at gmail.com
Tue Jan 11 14:34:33 PST 2022

Hi Nicole,

I'm the Executive Director of BikeAthens here in Athens GA. I've been the
administrator for our Earn A Bike Program for over five years. We use
social service partners in our area to refer clients to us that need

How do you avoid means testing? You do that by letting it be someone else's
job. In theory, you and the other collective members are a) excited about
bikes and b) have other jobs and responsibilities that don't revolve around
being full-time social workers. I don't decide who gets a bike. I just
decide which one they get. The referring organization does the heavy
lifting by having interviewed and worked with the potential client. Often
they are licensed social workers to some extent or another. They are in a
much better position to make that judgment call. It also gives me an easy
way out of the conversation when a random person shows up telling me that
they heard if they come down here they can get a free bike. I even have a
pamphlet I give them that explains our referral process.

We have a very low threshold for what types of organizations we partner
with. Any reasonably legit third party that is willing to email or call on
behalf of someone they know that needs a bike is in. That is to say, pretty
much any 501c3 non-profit, school or church organization can send a request
on behalf of a client. Our expectations are just that they believe that
having a bike would help their client better find a job, get to school, and
access social services or healthcare. We don't require an MOU unless they
want one. Some partner organizations have their own criteria for whether or
not they will send us a request. For example, the Salvation Army in Athens
will only send a referral if the client already has a job. A local
addiction recovery organization requires the client to sign a contract that
they will take care of the bike, keep it locked, and return it if they are
no longer using it. If the partner organization would like to protect a
client's identity, that's fine. They can make up a client number or send me
initials. As long as they tell me how tall they are, we're good.

You may not have the same community partners over time, there is decent
turnover in a lot of other social service organizations and sometimes new
people aren't aware they can even help their clients find help with bikes.

Let me know if that is helpful or if you have any other questions.



On Tue, Jan 11, 2022 at 4:54 PM Nicole Muratore <nicole at bikesaviours.org>

> The last iteration of ours required an individual to volunteer 12 hours of
> time in exchange for a bike we'd teach them to fix up, a set of lights, and
> a lock. These folks are already facing transportation issues and have
> difficulty returning to the shop to complete the hours they started.
> Separate from earn-a-bike we offer work trade at a rate of $10/hour for
> shop credit that can be used for stand time or regular-priced parts needed
> to fix one's bike.
> If your shop has an earn-a-bike program or similar, how does it work? And
> is utilization of the program high? Any input, documentation, etc. is
> appreciated!
> Cheers,
> *Nicole Muratore, Shop Manager* (she/her)
> Bike Saviours Bicycle Collective
> (602) 429-9369 | bikesaviours.org | @bikesaviours
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