This is the fourth week for a youth earn-a-bike program in the Osborn community, more specifically at E. Outer Drive and Van Dyke Avenue. Once again, Mode Shift has covered this program quite comprehensively in this article.
Basically, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy directed a $12,500 grant to the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative (DECC) to run a youth earn-a-bike program that also did community service. This DECC program was 2 two-week sessions for kids 10-14. Thirty used bikes, parts, and tools were purchased through The Hub of Detroit. The youth learned how to repair a bike – which they kept – and did work in the community along with group rides. They also got helmets, bike locks, and bike lights.
Why Osborn? There have been earn-a-bikes in various parts of Detroit, but not in Osborn despite it having a high concentration of youth. And, the Milbank Greenway is located here along with a new segment of the Conner Creek Greenway, which is being constructed this year.
Also, this area was the focus of a series of Free Press articles on Safe Routes to School. For some, being able to bike to school might be a safer, quicker alternative to walking and the DDOT buses. A related note, The Hub of Detroit did a survey of students at the School of Performing Arts in Detroit. Not having a bike was the second most common reason for not riding to school. (Number one was the fear of bike theft and bullying.)
Part of the community service involves a pop-up bike shop where the youth and instructors will do free minor repairs on bikes. The shop be on the Milbank Greenway at Van Dyke (just north of E. Outer Drive) this Thursday, August 16th from 10am until noon.
What happens next? DECC has tools and workstands to keep this program running on Detroit’s east side. More funding would be needed for the bikes, parts, and instructors. Stay tuned.