One of our most popular programs is the Earn-A-Blke program. Through this program numerous people have rescued forgotten bicycles, given them some loving, and found them a new home.
Earn-A-Bikers create a contract in which they will give back to Free Ride! for an agreed upon value of the bike (usually $20 - $150, depending upon the quality of the bike). They then repair their chosen bicycle, using the free access to shop parts, tools and learning resources. The average participant earns their bike from FreeRide! with between 8 and 20 hours of volunteering.
By completing the Earn-A-Bike program, people not only receive a spiffy bike but they also acquire the skills to keep that bike running and in good working condition.
Completing an Earn-A-Bike Project
There are three major aspects to the Earn-A-Bike project once you are enrolled. The first is earning a bicycle by giving back to the Free Ride community. The second is learning about bicycle repair and maintenance. The third is fixing something old with your own two hands – restoring your bike to a safe, working order.
Becoming and colunteer and attendance at basic bicycle mechanics classes is required before you can enroll in the program. Please see below for specifics on the requirements to entry as well as the enrollment process.
Each bike selected by participants is given a value. The value depends largely on the quality of the bicycle as well as other factors.Then, participants must earn their bike before they complete the project. They can volunteer or pay cash.
Fixing anything is tough, especially when you are new at it. Fortunately, Free Ride offers opportunities to help you learn about bicycle repair. You already found out about the mechanics classes in order to meet the Earn-A-Bike enrollment classes. We encourage you to take more classes to learn the necessary skills. Additionally, there are self-learning tools all over the shop. The self-guided learning tools range from diagrams to “exploded” assemblies of bicycle parts to a great collection of books. Finally, many friendly people at Free Ride are willing to help if you just ask. And maybe the next day somebody will ask you for help!
All used bicycles at Free Ride need some care and attention before they are safe to use. The amount of repair work needed depends on the bicycle. You will get an overview of the needed repairs when you enroll, but you will need to continually assess your bicycle and its needs. Fixing a used bicycle can be challenging and time consuming endeavor, but don’t be intimidated. There are plenty of learning opportunities available and most people at Free Ride are willing to give a helping hand.
Before leaving the shop with a completed bicycle, it must pass a basic safety inspection by a qualified staff member. Just ask a staff member during open shop to give the safety inspection. With a safe bike that is completely earned, you are ready to be on your way.
Through the Earn-A-Bike program we are trying to counteract consumer culture that teaches people to buy new things instead of repairing what they already have. We strive to show that broken, used bicycles, once destined for a landfill, can be salvaged and live a new life cruising the streets of Pittsburgh.
Requirements for Entering the Earn-A-Bike ProgramAll of the following must be completed (in any order) to meet the requirements for enrolling in the Earn-A-Bike program:
- Attend at 1 bicycle mechanics class offered by Free Ride.Read more about Adult Mechanics Classes.
- Volunteer 2 hours and deduct these hours from your volunteer log
Paying for classes
Attendance at the Adult Mechanics Classes is not free. However, a few hours of helpful volunteering are all you need to meet the fees. Please check with the specifics for each class for details.
Proficient Mechanics Skills
Many people are already proficient in bicycle repairs.They have the option of acting as teaching aids during bike mechanics classes. Attendance of classes is still required, but teaching aids don’t pay a fee for the classes and can count that class as volunteering time towards earning a bike.
Second (or more) Earn-A-Bike
The Earn-A-Bike program is so fun, many people want to complete a second project.For anybody who has already completed an Earn-A-Bike project, the requirement is a little different. These people are not required to take classes, because they have already done that. However, they do need to either completed volunteering. And they are still encouraged to attend classes they have not taken.
Low-income people may find it difficult to give either time or money to Free Ride in order to pay for adult mechanics classes. As part of the Earn-A-Bike program, low –income people are able to take mechanics classes without any fees.All they have to do is show their “Access” card. Even though the classes are free to them, classes are still required before these low-income people can enroll in the Earn-A-Bike program.
How to Enroll
Enrollment is easy once you have met the requirements. Just show up to open shop on Thursdays and Saturdays and a staff member will help you get started on the program.Through the Earn-A-Bike program we are trying to counteract consumer culture that teaches people to buy new things instead of repairing what they already have. We strive to show that broken, used bicycles, once destined for a landfill, can be salvaged and live a new life cruising the streets of Pittsburgh.