(L)earn-a-Bike has been gaining momentum in our community, and we seek to increase its impact.
What is (L)earn-a-Bike?
(L)earn-a-Bike is a program in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham area built on a long standing partnership between Harrisonburg Gift & Thrift Shops, Inc. and Virginia’s Department of Juvenile Justice. Its current objective is to provide local at-risk youth practical hands-on learning mediated by positive, enthusiastic role models. This is accomplished in a bicycle shop setting with a 2 to 1 participant-instructor ratio. Over fifty court appointed youth have been referred to the (L)earn-a-Bike program since its inception.
The course provides opportunities for: skill-building, collaborative problem solving, and practical and sustainable transportation: a bicycle. During the 16 hours of structured classroom time, each student tears down a donated bicycle, services its components, and reassembles it. Upon completion of the class, students are given the choice to either keep the bike, or donate it to a partner organization, Bicycles for Refugees, as a viable transportation option for a local refugee.
In addition to the current roles mentioned above, we are also in the process of creating a Community Bike Shop. We believe this shop and the current programs have tremendous growth opportunity that can ripple out into our community with positive effects. We envision a safe and supportive environment for marginalized members of our community to learn pro-social skills while honing mechanical and other pertinent abilities. Development of such crucial tools creates the opportunity for individuals to apply themselves in productive ways throughout our community and beyond. We can make a difference in our community by empowering others to make a difference in their lives.
Here is how you can help:
Donate $25 (provides snacks for a class)
Donate $50 (provides parts to refurbish a bike)
Donate $250 (1 student completes a class)
Donate $500 (2 students complete a class)
Any donation amount is appreciated
Bicycle donations are welcome
Checks payable to “Harrisonburg Gift & Thrift” with Bike Program in the memo, please.
For more information, please contact Brad Burrow at (540) 433-4880 or email [email protected].
We’re happy to announce that (L)earn-a-Bike is now partnering with Bikes for Refugees, an initiative of the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition, to help local refugees get access to bicycles and bicycle riding instruction. Bikes for Refugees is now storing all their bikes and parts at (L)earn-a-Bike, and will be using our workshop space and tools to get their donated bikes into tip-top shape before they’re given a new home.
You can donate bikes to (L)earn-a-Bike or Bikes for Refugees at the Gift & Thrift donation drop off. Just let a Gift & Thrift employee know where you’d like to designate your donation. Tax-deductible receipts are available.
Bicycle Repair Gatherings
Bicycle repair gatherings for Bikes for Refugees are now happening the first and third Wednesdays of every month from 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the (L)earn-a-bike workshop. Stop by and help out. There’s no need to RSVP.
This Saturday begins our 11th cohort. With each iteration we get a little better at running this place, formalizing a process here or improving a resource there. This website is just one example of that.