Monday, December 10, 2012

Say Something Good About Detroit

Back Alley Bikes


Back Alley Bikes exists in one of the most desperate parts of Detroit. Only about thirty percent of Detroiters have cars or even licenses and the public transportation is lacking. How difficult must it be to get to work without either.

(From their website)

SFor the last 10 years Back Alley Bikes has helped put Detroit residents on two wheels while teaching the youth of the city and others bicycle safety, mechanical repairs and customer service.
The program was started in 2000 by employees of Detroit Summer, a “youth program / movement to respirit, redefine and reimagine Detroit from the ground up.” The original purpose was to provide transportation to youth participants who were working on anything from planting gardens and to painting murals all over the city. Today this non-profit organization has grown into so much more offering holiday bike giveaways, adult repair classes, youth education workshops and countless other volunteer-based programs.
Back Alley Bikes is funded partially by its retail shop the Hub of Detroit, a full-service bicycle shop servicing the Cass Corridor and greater Detroit. The Hub’s profits, along with grants from Michigan’s Tri- County Bicycle Association, are put toward multi-generational educational programs and youth outreach.
One of their newest programs is for adult volunteers. Volunteer nights are on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 8. After completing 20 hours here, participants are eligible to become “Allies.” In exchange for four hours of volunteer work a week, Back Alley Bikes gives Allies free access to tools and bike parts. For those unfamiliar with bicycle mechanics, there is an eight-week course called “Learn-a-Bike” that covers the basic how-to of bike repair and construction.

One of Back Alley's work rooms has been filled with donated bikes In reaching out toward Detroit youth, Back Alley Bikes and the Detroit Bike Hub have put on “Earn-a-Bike” sessions where young people age 8 to 16 are able to pick a bicycle to take home after three sessions of building and repairing it. This summer the program is being held on Thursday and Saturday afternoons.
For children too young to work at the shop, there are several annual holiday bike giveaways. “We just held a kid’s bike giveaway,” says Jack VanDyke, who started volunteering at Back Alley Bikes in 2005, “It was held the weekend of July 4th and the final count was 123 bikes.”
Back Alley Bikes and the Hub of Detroit are located at 3611 Cass Ave. near Martin Luther King Blvd. For more information on programs and volunteer 

An upcoming event:

Bike-a-Thon Riders!

November 20, 2012
Hello everyone!
Welcome to and  Before you check out the rest of the website, we wanted to let you know about a big fundraiser we are doing.  On January 6th, 2013 we are going to ride as many miles as we can over a 24 hour period.  We are doing this in hopes that you feel guilty about not riding and it will cause you to donate to our gimmicky event.  Or maybe you’ll come ride with us!  Either way, help us raise awareness of what Back Alley Bikes does and also funds to help us do what we do year round! (to access the rest of the site, click here or on “News!” above)


Anonymous said...

Good luck to them. I didn't realize it was that bad. In New York, you don't need a car to get around (at least in most areas - there are some neighborhoods off the subway lines with sparse bus service).

Jeff M.

George said...

I'm going Retro: MOTOWN!

Richard R. said...

Only 30 % have cars or licenses? REALLY? That is absolutely an unbelievable stat. In southern California it's probably 90-95 percent. Here in the Portland area I don't know, a lot of people ride bikes.

Gerard said...

I was thinking of the blog's theme when reading a recent bad news article in yesterday's newspaper that datelined Detroit.

Gerard said...

I was listening to iTunes on my work computer when this song from the four disc 35th Anniversary Collection of Smokey Robinson came on.


Gerard Saylor said...

Each time I see a Detroit article I am reminded of these posts. From BookTV's posting on Facebook for forthcoming programs.

"Detroit City is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis"
Mark Binelli

pattinase (abbott) said...

He was on the Michigan Daily with Megan in the early 90s.