Students at Rosa Parks Schools in Berkeley having their bikes repaired. Photo by Tony Wilkinson.
The Alameda County Transportation Commission, Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Cycles of Change launched a BikeMobile program and a newly designed BikeMobile vehicle at an inaugural ceremony and bike “Fix-a-Thon” event Tuesday at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Berkeley.
The BikeMobile and its bicycle mechanic staff will visit schools and community organizations and events to deliver no-cost hands-on bicycle repair and bicycle safety training to promote riding bikes to school.
Cycles of Change, which supplies the repair staff, has learned over the years that a large number of children are unable to ride because of broken or poorly maintained bicycles, which are unsafe or uncomfortable to use. Many of these children do not live near bicycle shops, nor do they have resources to pay for bicycle repair.
While Alameda County children are the primary beneficiaries, the BikeMobile will also reach out to interested parents, teachers and community members, especially in low-income communities.
BikeMobile Fix-a-Thons are pre-arranged using an online signup form at www.bike-mobile.org. On the designated day, students bring their bikes to the BikeMobile, recognizable by its bright graphics, parked at their school or other pre-determined location.
BikeMobile staff supply parts and expertise to help youth repair their bikes. Safety-essential accessories, such as locks, lights and bike helmets, are also available to increase bike safety, and encourage children’s enthusiasm for riding bikes to school.
The BikeMobile is a pilot program managed under the transportation commission’s Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) program that will run through November 2013. The program is funded in part through Measure B, Alameda County’s half-cent transportation sales tax passed by voters in 1986.
The BikeMobile is expected to make up to 275 site visits over two years. Requests for a BikeMobile visit can be made online http://bike-mobile.org