Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative (DECC), Earn-A-Bike program was a big success! Thirty-two students from Marion Law Academy, an Education Achievement Authority school on Detroit’s Eastside, earned a bike this summer, the program ran from July 15th through August 3rd. There were two, eleven day sessions with 17 students in the first class and 15 in the second. The program is normally 14 days, but the school have to close for a week due to extremely hot weather conditions. A total of 33 bicycles were purchased, one students didn’t complete the program due to disciplinary problems. Participants learned to repair and maintain bicycles, including how to tune-up and troubleshoot problems with flat tires, spokes, gears, chains, brakes and handle bars. The goal of the two cohort 38 hour course was to teach youth a useful skill, build and/or support self-esteem, highlight their accomplishment, increase knowledge about bike safety and greenways, and discover the hidden value in refurbishing used bikes.
The Detroit Medical Center’s (DMC) Trauma Program Specialist, Sharon Mckinzie provided helmet safety instruction highlighting the proper way to fit and wear helmets for bicycle safety. DMC also donated 31 helmets through their Children’s Hospital of Michigan – Kohl’s Care injury prevention program, one helmet was purchased for student that needed special fitting. Students received hands on training from our two instructors (Olivia Dobbs from the Hub of Detroit/Back Alley Bikes and Richard Henry an up and coming bike mechanic) on how to repair bicycles and most importantly how to identify and use the proper tool for the job. The program coordinator gave the students an overview of greenways in Detroit and the students had an opportunity to ride a small portion of the Connor Creek Greenway. Pre and post tests revealed that students improved their knowledge of bike repair and bicycle safety on average from 35% to just under 70%.
Students also engaged in a community service activity by staging two free bike tune-up pop-up shops at their school. The two bike tune-up days resulted in 25 bike repairs for kids and adults in their neighborhood.
Once the participant’s bicycles were ready to ride, teachers from Law Academy and volunteers led students on group rides. This gave them the opportunity to test out their bikes and practice their bike safety riding skills learned in class; such as, how to use hand signals for stopping, left and right turns, how to ride with the direction of traffic, and how to follow street signs and bike lane marking on the road. On completion of the program participants kept the bicycle they repaired, a helmet and received a lock and official Earn-A-Bike t-shirt.
Back Alley Bikes and The Hub of Detroit provided technical support for the project, along with The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, Nortown CDC, Marion Law Academy, and Communities In Schools of Detroit.
On behave of the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative thank you for
this generous $7,500 donation from The Rails-To-Trails Conservancy and the