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Community Cycles Youth Earn-A-Bike Curriculum

From Bike Collectives Wiki

The Community Cycles Youth Earn-A-Bike Curriculum consists of four 3-hour sessions, to be held once per week over the course of one month. Students are aged 10-15, with exceptions made on a case by case basis. We've had younger than 10, but to date no one older.


The purpose of the curriculum is to have every member of our youth Earn a Bike class leave with:

1. An advanced beginner level of mechanical skills, including
a. How to change a flat. Everyone in the class should be an EXPERT at this. They should be able to teach this to someone. The best way to learn something is to teach it. Perhaps we could figure out a way for them to teach someone else how to patch a tube? Have them make an instruction booklet for patching tubes? A poster?
b. The ability to adjust brakes and shifters.
c. The knowledge and skills to determine which areas on a bicycle need work, in order for it to operate safely and securely.
d. The basic mechanical workings of all 3 of the bearing systems on a bike- a facilitator will show the class how the bearings work, by taking apart a demo set, and putting it back together. it's not vital that the kids know how to do this on their own, but that they have a basic understanding of what's going on inside a bearing setup (HS, BB, hub).
2. A knowledge of and respect for tools
a. Tools do what you tell them to do, not what you want them to do. Be mindful of what you're "telling" the tool to do.
b. Replace tools to where you found them, once you're done using them.
c. Which tools are for what tasks, and the inverse, do not use a tool if it's not suited for that purpose (cone wrenches as pedal wrenches, hammer as mallet, etc)
d. Tools are fun, useful, and vital to a bike shop. They can also be expensive, delicate/easily broken or misused, and harmful if used incorrectly or negligently.
e. Tools break. It is okay if this happens while you're using a tool correctly, as long as you inform an instructor or other staff person.
3. A bike, and accessories
a. A working, safe bicycle, which the student has tuned up or safety checked.
b. The standard "kit" of bike accessories which all Community Cycles EAB participants receive:
  • Lock.
  • Bell
  • Rack
  • Saddle pouch.
  • Patch kit and tire levers.
  • Bike map of Boulder.
c. A new helmet.
d. A CC YEAB shirt.
e. Students who take the class more than once will receive, in lieu of another bicycle, the ability to trade up their bicycle or accessories, or the chance to earn more expensive schwag. Panniers is one example. We decided that earning more than one bicycle is not in our nor their best interest.
Depending on time available, we have several lessons/games we play to get the following items across. Some classes finish building and tuning their bikes, some do not. The classes that do finish get more "on the bike" riding time.
4. Riding, stopping, shifting skills.
a. How to stop quickly without skidding. front brakes vs rear. when to use both, etc.
b. How to ride slowly/trackstand.
c. What gears are for, how they work, what they mean, why they're helpful. when to ride low gear, when to ride high.
d. Safe bike knowledge, including hand signals, rules of riding with other riders/drivers/peds, bike fit and maintenance, accident avoidance.
  • Hand signals
    • What they are.
    • When to use them.
  • Rules for riding on paths, roads, sidewalks. poster with road signs, "where does the bike go?"
  • Avoiding accidents.
  • Helmet use.


Participants should come to the class first class with the following:

1. A signed (by parent or guardian) permission slip. It's our rule that the parent or guardian must be present for the initial lesson, so that they can come on a tour of the shop, ask any questions, see that we're a legitimate shop, etc.
2. Comfort with riding a bicycle. Beginner riders are welcome, but they need to be comfortable on two wheels.
3. A willingness to have fun.

Class outlines

Each class is expected to be about three hours long.

Class 1

1. Name and something about bikes we love.
2. Talk about Community Cycles and shop tour.
3. Shop/class rules. We have the students come up with these, so there's a sense of ownership and we post them in the shop.
a. CC should be a frustration-free space. If you ever feel frustrated, it is 'always' okay to take a break, work on something else, etc. It’s always OK to go home.
  • Cleaning and degreasing parts or anything else
  • Pairing parts
  • Sorting small parts
  • Organizing anything
  • Being creative in any way (posters, t-shirts, bike designs)
  • Whiteboard tasks, if possible
  • Check tubes
  • Fold brochures
  • Help someone else
b. We want CC to be a place where everyone can feel okay being how they are without worry
c. If you feel unsure about how to do something, 'ask!' We don’t believe that questions can ever be stupid. Don’t be afraid that you don’t know something or can’t figure something out on your own.
d. Treat all bikes, all tools, as if they were your personal belongings, because they are. Treat your classmates well.
e. Share what you learn whenever possible, especially during the class
f. Give people the space to figure it out on their own, but help them if they ask for it.
g. Listen without interrupting.
h. Wait your turn for tools.
i. If you see another student struggling to figure something out, offer to help.
j. Consequences:
  • First Offense -Verbal Warning
  • Second Offense - Given a task from the list above for some time outside the
  • Third Offense - Parents are called, asked to leave the class.
Shop tour
Along the tour, point out things you see that you like, or are interested in, or confused about.
1. Showroom
2. Loft
3. Shop space- parts, tools
Intro to tool use/rules
1. Tools do what you tell them to do, not what you want them to do.
2. Treat tools with respect. They are expensive, and without them, we can't work on bikes.
3. If you don't know how to use a tool, ask before using it.
4. If you break a tool, let a facilitator know. As long as you weren't misusing the tool, you won't be in trouble.
5. Don't drop tools on the floor, don't throw tools.
6. If you use a tool, put it back in it's correct place. If you don't know, ask, or leave it on the bench.
7. Certain tools are more specialized, and are for experienced mechanics. These include vice grips, bolt cutters, hacksaws, hammers/mallets, and certain higher end tools kept in the office.
Up to 4 teams of three (limit of 12 students per class, with 4 instructors) put one bike per team back together. We talk about tools as they are needed.

Class 2

Guest speaker.
1. This will be someone from the community who is involved with bikes. Ideas for speakers include: professional cyclist athletes, bike messengers, sunflower solar who does the solar panel installation by bike delivery), a bike mechanic, a commuter of the year, the pedal to properties people, bike delivery people, jimmy johns', jalinos, someone from the swingbike shop, etc. guest speakers will speak for 15 minutes or so, about what they do, why they like bikes, answer questions, etc. ideally, they would stay for the entire class time, and help with/participating in the class activities.
Wrench on project bikes for an hour or so
1. Facilitators have 4 class bikes that belong to the class, which are disassembled when students arrive, and are basically a big pile of parts for them to put back together. Students are encouraged to figure out as much as they can, using help from other students, or looking at fully assembled bikes for hints as to how to proceed.
2. Generally, teams get the bike all the pieces put together, and are just short of installing and adjusting cables by cleanup time.
Kids get to pick out bikes.
1. Youth bikes are stored in a separate area of the shop, so students are allowed in, several at a time, and a facilitator retrieves the bikes.
2. Students label the bikes with their names, and YEAB.
3. We do a very cursory "once over" to see what major things are wrong, and need work.

Class 3

1. Students put their bikes on stands, and we go through what could be wrong with them. Students list what's wrong, and move on. We don't start working on them until we've diagnosed all the problems. This takes some maneuvering, as some bikes will be missing major parts, and some diagnosis won't be possible--how do you determine if it shifts without cranks?--but those cases are the anomaly. Having the students follow the instructor through checking the bikes works well, we've found.
2. After triaging their bikes' problems, students work on the problems as they are able. Some students finish their bikes by the end of Class Three.

Class 4

1. Wrench on their bikes if needed.
2. Students who have finished working on and safety checking their bikes are encouraged to go for a short ride, with instructor supervision. Some games may be played:
a. No-touch footdown.
b. A slow race, from point a to point b. The rules
3. Safety check and fit their bikes.
4. hand signals, road rules, etc.
5. info using a trailer with a bike.
6. if there's time: Bike Olympics.
a. no-touch footdown
b. slow race
c. running while screaming, how far can you go?
7. Pictures taken of each student and their bike.

Non-class specific things that may be helpful:


Gather schwag, which might mean calling local companies. This could be bike shops, bike manufacturers, bike delivery places, the city, county or state, school district, etc. Anyone who may be sympathetic to getting youth on bicycles safely.

  • Clif bar
  • Cat-Eye-(303) 443-4595 2300 Central Ave,Boulder, CO 80301
  • Bike Shops? (Univ, Pro-Peleton, Title 9, Vecchios, Cutting Edge, Sport Garage, Randal Scott)
  • Boulder Denver Bike Couriers
  • VeloNews-1830 North 55th Street, Boulder, co, 303 440 0601
  • IMBA/BMA-207 canyon, ste 301, boulder, co 80302 303-545-9011

Bike Recipients

Contact a list of non-profits. These are non profits who would be the recipient of a bike the kids put together. Another option, if the place can't accept bikes, or can't use them effectively, is to sell the bike in the shop, and the money raised goes towards the non-profit of the kids choice.

  1. Safehouse- (303) 449-8623 835 North Street, Boulder CO, 80304-ordered.
  2. I Have A Dream - 2515 E Sterling Circle, #200, Boulder County, Co 80304 303-444-3636-ordered via voicemail
  3. Americorps programs - i couldn't find any americorps programs in boulder, other than i have a dream foundation...but maybe there are more? we should talk to the americorps rep at ihad.
  4. Carriage House - (do they have an office in boulder? estes=kinda far) PO Box 626, Boulder, CO, CO 80306 303 442 8300 ordered.
  5. Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, 4869 N. Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304, 303-442-4646
  6. Food Not Bombs--Kate does this. Would they be interested?
  7. EFAA-Developement Director 303-951-7676.
  8. Special Olympics - 410 17th Street, Suite 200, Denver, CO 80202 (303) 592-1361
  9. Head Start- (i don't think they're a non-profit, this info is from the county of boulder, so i think donations might be a little weird...)3482 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304 (303) 441-3980
  10. YWCA/YMCA - Arapahoe Center - 303.664.5455 Mapleton Center - 303.442.2778
  11. Parenting Place - 303-449-0177, 1235 Pine Street, Boulder CO 80302
  12. Toys for Tots -
  13. Derailleur - 411 Lipan St., Denver, CO, 80204,, 303.893.0305
  14. Kalmia Kids in Subsidized Housing - 4800 North Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304, (720) 564-4610
  15. Gay Youth Runaway place in Denver - Urban Peak Denver 730 21st Street, Denver, CO 80205 Phone: 303-777-9198
  16. Boulder Valley Humane Society - 2323 55th St, Boulder CO, 80301, (303) 442-4030

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Community Cycles (Boulder, CO)
Neighborhood Bike Works (Philadelphia, PA)

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