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November 18, 2016

As the colder months are beginning to approach, we wanted to take a moment to appreciate the many awesome things that BYKE and its members did this summer. In March, BYKE moved into a beautiful new space on the first floor of 403 E Oliver Street. With the expanded space, the youth collective has grown and has been able to make it their own with four hand-painted toolboxes, signs for community guidelines, a small library, and a meeting area. Since moving into the new space, our volunteer mechanics and instructor team has grown and greatly benefited from the skills and ideas of these new members.

In addition to the exciting opportunities that the new shop has offered, this summer was our most active summer to date with extended hours, a youth all-star leadership team, advanced bicycle mechanics courses taught by Josh Keogh from Baltimore Bicycle Works, numerous bike rides across Baltimore and to Chesapeake BMX, and an original music video compiled by the amazing Mia Loving and DJ Blaqstarr.


Meet our Youth All-Star Team! From left to right Dominique, Anthony, Ty, Daniel, and Jon Jon. This summer we received support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Family League of Baltimore and YouthWorks to hire five youth interns to assist with managing the shop, facilitating activities, assisting other BYKE members with their projects, and providing strong peer-mentorship. All of the team members have been BYKE members for close to two years and have shown a dedication and passion for bikes and bike mechanics. They have also contributed to making BYKE hat it is today. As summer interns, they were required to be at the shop to help other youth fix their bikes and teach them new skills. They also received advanced mechanics classes from Josh Keogh, from Baltimore Bicycle Works. In these advanced classes, volunteer instructors and youth interns covered skills ranging from repair diagnostics to derailleur allignment. We hope to continue this offering to help our most engaged and advanced youth mechanics develop the skills necessary to work in a professional bicycle shop environment.


BYKE members rode down to the Maryland Science Center, where our very own volunteer mechanic, Steven, designs, build and installs exhibits on kinetic energy. The group got to learn about the science and get a behind the scenes tour of one of Baltimore’s most popular attractions. Thanks Steven!


Early in the summer, BYKE members took a trip out to Gwynns Falls Leakin Park for a full-day team-building workshop run by Outward Bound. The day included a nature walk, group activities that focused on planning, leadership, and communication, as well as jumping from a 30-foot tall telephone pole!


In addition to the shop space, we have an amazing storage area behind our building for all of the donated bicycles that we receive from generous community members, Velocipede Bike Project, Johns Hopkins University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Eastern Baltimore Police District. After moving to the new space, we quickly realized we needed to organize all of these bikes to make our process run smoothly. Some of our BYKE members worked with our Mechanic Mentor, Fred, and Mechanic Teacher, Steven to install a great bike rack in the storage room. The donated bikes are now neatly organized and logged in our database!


This summer, for a few hours a week, we took a break from working on bikes to focus on some deeper, personal topics. The Invisible Majority, a local incubator that serves to strengthen the artistic community in Baltimore, created a curriculum to guide young people reflecting on issues they face in and out of their communities.


As part of our Youth Identity curriculum, we also collaborated with Tarahn Harris, a community organizer and motivational speaker at the Nathaniel Tatum Barclay Community Center. In the 1990s, PBS filmed a documentary about Harris’ unique story. He hosted a series of dialogues that culminated in the screening of his documentary. We discussed some of the decisions Harris made, and the systemic failures he was exposed to in his early teenage years.


Accompanied by our shop-friend and nationally competing BMX cyclist, Dwaylon Carter (Lethal Threat Racing), BYKE brought a crew out to Chesapeake BMX to try a different kind of cycling, and enjoy a warm evening outside of Baltimore City. Carter showed BYKE members tips and tricks, and youth were able to practice their skills for hours on the track.

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