Friday, October 3, 2008
How green is your ride? Forget Hybrids; a group of Arlington teens wants to know, how green is your bicycle?
You've heard of Craigslist. Maybe you've tried Ebay. But have you checked out Phoenix Bikes?
Located on the edge of Barcroft Park in South Arlington, Phoenix Bikes is a non-profit organization that takes donated bicycles and raises them from the ash of the dump, or the dust of some garage, and gives them a second chance.
Second chances are what define a Phoenix after all. Once a county run program called Community Spokes, Phoenix Bikes was reborn when a group of citizens and committed cyclists fought to bring back the program.
Phoenix Bikes serves as an after school hub for tinkering teens looking to tune up their bike mechanic skills and help their community with affordable alternatives.
Program Director, Colin Dixon, says the middle school and high school cyclists gain valuable management and leadership skills in addition to learning about social responsibility.
Through their Earn-A-Bike program, Youth Mechanics earn points for skills learned in the shop, hours worked, and even good progress reports at school. After completing a checklist, students can redeem those points for a refurbished bike or parts to upgrade their own bikes.
Other programs involve the participants in community service by teaching their neighbors road safety skills and mechanics. Phoenix Bikes also offers an Adult Instruction Night open to anyone. Kids are encouraged to take part in weekly rides with Team Phoenix.
Phoenix Bikes serves the Arlington biking community by offering tune-ups and minor repairs at a low cost. The shop also sells the bikes it rebuilds as well as used parts. The program receives some grant money, but operates largely from donations and proceeds from shop sales.
Phoenix Bikes has been operating out of a small building right off 4 Mile Run trail since March of 2007. They are currently looking for a larger space to accommodate the 60 or so Youth Mechanics that drop in and out of the shop.
To make a donation, shop the store, volunteer, or join the program check out www.phoenixbikes.org