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Bicycle Recycling: Giving Those a Second Chance

Country Centre 4-H Club and American River 4-H Club | Sacramento County Status: Completed Categories: Citizenship, Engineering and Technology, Science Youth Leader: Julia | Age: 15

Nearly 20,000 under-privileged families who live at or below the poverty line in the Sacramento area receive food, education, clothing, and other services from the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services at the Saca Community Learning Center each year.  Because transportation is an issue for many of these families, the Country Centre and American River 4-H Clubs will work with 4-H volunteers to repair and update old/lightly used bikes to make them safe and functional and will donate them to individuals served by the Center.

How has 4-H helped?

In this project, we take old/lightly used bikes or new bikes and we fix them up with scavenged parts. When they are fixed, we make sure that they have all of the safety requirements. Then when we are finished fixing the bikes, we do a safety check on all the bikes, making sure that all of them have reflectors and that the brakes are in perfect condition. After the safety check, we then polish and wash them so that they look as good as new and ready to hit the road. We have a good partnership with Sacramento's Safetyville and they help provide us with the helmets that we need to provide our bicycle recipients at our donation day, and In return, we assist them in two of their annual youth events at Safetyville USA. The helmets that we give away are DOT approved and free to our project in any amount that we need. By having this kind of resource, we save a lot of money for the project so that we can use the money for the bike parts that are needed, reflectors, brakes and bike chains. Then we clean and polish them so that they look nice. Once they are all cleaned up, we donate them to the SACA Food Bank and Learning Center to give to those who need them for transportation if they can't afford a car or if they use the bike for exercise or even just for fun. Our goals are not only to teach our project members about bike safety, but also to teach these safety tips to our community.

The Impact

This project has made a big impact on our community because we are giving people a second chance with transportation so that they get to and from places like the store or work. At one of our donation days, we were told by a family that this was the first time that their children had bikes and that they are now able to ride their bikes for leisure and to go to the store to buy food. For the members of the project, we learn the basic mechanical skills needed to repair a bike, like fix a flat tire, how to properly fill a tire with air, how to adjust a bike for its user, chain repair and replacement, and how to make sure that a bike is in proper working condition.