[TheThinkTank] Earn-a-Bike Programs

Carlyn Arteaga carlyn.arteaga at bicas.org
Tue Jan 11 15:49:11 PST 2022

Hi Nicole,
Carlyn from BICAS in Tucson, AZ here. Our Earn-a-Bike program is
encapsulated into our Work Trade Program -- Folks earn $12/hr to help us
out around the shop and they can use that credit towards 1 bike per year,
used parts, and Community Tools (stand time) to fix it up. All the bikes in
our shop are priced, so folks just calculate how much work they need to do
to earn whichever bike they like. It is a very heavily-used program and we
get referrals from social services orgs all over the county. We currently
have a cap of $200 per person per year, although we are currently
evaluating that cap as well as the Work Trade rate. Feel free to reach out
if you have any other questions.

On Tue, Jan 11, 2022 at 3:34 PM Scott Long <scott.m.long at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> transportation.
> 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.
> Thanks
> Scott
> On Tue, Jan 11, 2022 at 4:54 PM Nicole Muratore <nicole at bikesaviours.org>
> wrote:
>> 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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*Carlyn Arteaga*

*pronouns: they/them/theirs*

Youth Program Coordinator


2001 N. 7th Ave. | Tucson, AZ 85701 | Shop: 520-628-7950

carlyn.arteaga at bicas.org | www.bicas.org | Facebook
<http://www.facebook.com/bicascollective/> | Instagram

*Through advocacy and bicycle salvage, our mission is to participate in
affordable bicycle transportation, education, and creative recycling with
our greater Tucson community.*

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