Youth Bike Program
Nearly 6,000 youth have participated in The Crucible’s youth bike program since its inception in 2005, through kids activities, fieldtrips, classes, workshops, Bike Fix-A-Thons, and other community collaborations. We’re proud more than 1,200 of these youth are from our own West Oakland neighborhood. As a part of our community based workshop we offer bicycle Fix-A-Thons for the youth of West Oakland eight times a year, and two Earn-A-Bike classes per session. Nearly 100 youth have been trained as bike mechanics and earned bikes through our program.
During Bike Fix-A-Thons Crucible faculty and volunteers create a bike repair studio by opening our roll-up doors on a sidewalk facing the homes of local children. Mechanics work at six work stations, each customized to examine and repair bicycles. The repairs include patching and replacing tubes, wheel and tire work, cable and gear repairs, chain repair and replacement, and seat and handlebar adjustments. Mechanics explain their work during realtime to the youth, deepening their understanding of bike repair and maintenance. The workshops are also an opportunity for participants to tour the Crucible, learning more about other art classes.The Fix-A-Thons are a direct way to serve the needs of the West Oakland youth, providing them functioning bicycles and a greater knowledge of bike repair, and also strengthen the Crucible’s relationship with the local community, connecting with both the youth and their families.
This workshop is designed to give West Oakland youth hands on experience to learn about bike mechanics. In a six-week workshop, the youth work with volunteer bike mechanics to fix donated bikes. Each participant fixes two bikes and keeps one. The other bike is sold to raise money to support the bike program.
In 2006, thanks to private funding, The Crucible gave several students who had previously learned basic bike mechanic skills the opportunity to design and fabricate their own unique bicycle. The small group debuted their remarkable rides at the 2007 Fall Open House to wild applause and amazement, as well as requests for more advanced bike classes.
Now, by popular demand, any youth 12 or over who wants to get down with torch and grinder to customize their own bicycle can enroll in a new workshop: Youth Frame Alteration – Hyphy Bike. Students learn basic fabrication skills in MIG welding, Oxy/Acetylene torch, grinding and finishing, along with general and specific safety training necessary to reconstruct their bicycles. They will strip their bicycle frames and learn to redesign and alter handlebars, rims, seat posts, and frames to create a unique, hip, one-of-a-kind look that will make them the talk of the neighborhood. Students are required to bring their own bicycle to transform.
Over the last few years, The Crucible’s Bike Program has become the organization’s most popular community outreach program. “The Bike Frame Alteration class is the next progression for youth who have moved beyond beginning bike mechanic skills towards intermediate skills,” says Kristy Alfieri, Crucible’s youth and community program manager. “We’re so pleased to now be able to offer these advanced bike classes to a wider group of youth.”