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BickerBikes seeks $$ for youth programs

BickerBikes, the innovative earn-a-bike initiative serving youth in Humboldt Park, West Town, Logan Square and Hermosa, is entering its fourth summer of operations and turning to the larger community of cyclists and neighbors for support. The program hopes to raise $5,000 in individual donations to support two summer workshops and a year-round after-school bike club. (Scroll down to donate.) 

Photo: Alex Fledderjohn

Youth learn how to take apart, fix and ride bikes.

Youth in many Chicago neighborhoods are experiencing crisis levels of asthma, diabetes and obesity. BickerBikes, launched in 2004 by Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation , uses biking to promote health and fitness, while also productively engaging youth and providing them with marketable job skills.

The program is coordinated and taught by well-known Chicago biking activist Alex Wilson, and operates out of West Town Bikes, a fully equipped bicycle workshop just off North Avenue.

Gearing up

BickerBikes is now recruiting local youth ages 12 to 16 for the 2007 summer sessions and bike club. In July and August, two groups of 12 students each will choose a rescued (and often broken) bicycle from Working Bikes Cooperative, then learn to take it apart and fix it up during the four-week workshops. Two apprentices will be hired to help Wilson mentor the students and teach a range of skills, including:

  • Photo: Juan Francisco Hernandez

    Teens in the program ride their bikes all over the city.

    Nutrition and the value of exercise;
  • Bike repair and tool use;
  • Bike safety and rules for riding in city traffic;
  • Getting around in Chicago.

Throughout the program, students participate in bicycle parades, bike-fixing operations at local events, and group tours around the city.

BickerBikes was started in 2004 with a seed grant from LISC/Chicago and has a 2007 budget of $39,000. 

To help create a sustainable funding structure for the program, Bickerdike seeks to raise at least 10 percent of the budget through grassroots donations: community investment in community programs. Donations can be made on-line through the New Communities Program fund-raising page or by check made out to Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and sent to Chrissie Richards at Bickerdike, 2550 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL 60647. Both LISC/Chicago and Bickerdike are non-profit 501(c)3 organizations; contributions are tax deductible.

Listen in and watch as students talk about the 2006 program in this audio slideshow.

  To donate, click the button here and designate BickerBikes under "Choose a Program."

What will your money buy?

Photo: Alex Fledderjohn

The program was founded by Chicago cycling activist Alex Wilson.

Safe Riders - $25 allows one youth to ride safely with a helmet, lights and bell.

 Self Sufficient Youth - $100 enables youth to keep on riding for years with a lock, patch kit, pump and tools.

Creating a New Generation of Cyclists - $500 to $1,000 provides critical program support for mentoring, mechanics instruction, nutrition education, safe-cycling drills, and parts for rebuilt bicycles.   

Changing the city - Less congestion, decreased pollution, active and healthier youth: Priceless.

For more information about BickerBikes, contact Raul Echevarria at 773-278-5669.

Browse NCP articles related to

Parks/Recreation, Youth , Health

Donate Be sure to select Chicago LISC for program designation.
All donations are tax-deductible.

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