Youth Earn A Bike

Youth Earn-a-Bike – Saturdays @ 12pm

Youth Earn-A-Bike (YEAB) is Back Alley Bikes core program offered year round.
“Y” is for youth (aged 10-17 years old). This is a time for youth to work with each other and realize the power they possess. Yes, there are adult staff and volunteers on hand to assist, but this is really a time when youth do the work on bikes.
“E” is for earn. Youth earn bikes through their labor. You know how they say that nothing is free in this world? Well, unfortunately that is true here. Sure, the program doesn’t cost any money, but it will take your time, intellect and skill to finish that bike. The positive side of all that is when you finish that bike, it is really yours. You built it yourself!
“A” is for a. You only earn one bike at a time. Each youth is eligible to earn one bicycle a year. So as you grow, you can return to the program again until you turn 18.
“B” is for bike. We are working with bicycles here. The ones you pedal. We aren’t fixing motors or getting youth on scooters. We are here to celebrate the vehicle that predated cars and planes and will ultimately outlive them.

Ham (left) helps Maurice (right) pick out a bike from the warehouse to build up and earn.

Ham (left) helps Maurice (right) pick out a bike from the warehouse to build up and earn.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in Youth Earn-a-Bike, please download our YEAB Permission Slip and pass it along! Completed permission slips are required for Youth Earn-a-Bike (permission slips last for one years time before needing to be updated)

Sanchez threading a chain through the rear derailleur.

Sanchez threading a chain through the rear derailleur.


Year Round
YEAB occurs year round on Saturdays from 12-3pm. Saturdays are a “drop-in” time which means it is first come, first served. During the Spring and Summer sometimes more youth show up than the shop can handle and unfortunately we have to turn youth away. Though we make our best effort to schedule return times for youth that are turned away.
Summer Schedule
From Mid June to the beginning of September our youth hours expand to help accommodate the overflowing demand for our program:
1. We open our “drop-in” time to a second day. For 2013 we will have drop-in time on Friday and Saturday from 12pm-3pm. Watch our calendar here on our website for when the expanded hours will begin.
2. We schedule groups of 6 youth at a time for YEAB mid-week sessions. For groups of youth up to 6 youth that can commit to coming to the program three days in a row, we guarantee them a stand Tues, Wed and Thurs 9am-12pm. In this three day mid-week session youth can earn a bike by Thursday afternoon. To schedule a group, please call the programming office (313.879.5630).

Francisco working with Gary on his bike.

Francisco working on his bike with Gary’s help.

Additional Resources

Many guardians have asked what tools their youth need once they complete the program to work on their bike at home. Well here is a list of tools we recommend:

Basic Repair Tool Set
– Box End Metric Wrenches 8mm-17mm
– Allen Wrenches 4mm-6mm
– Large Adjustable Wrench (12″)
– Needle-nose Pliers
– Flathead Screwdriver
– Phillips Screwdriver
– Pedal Wrench*
– Chain Tool*
– Tire Levers (at least 2)*
– Patch Kit*
– Chain Lube*
– Bike Grease*
– Cable Cutters*
– Pump*

More advanced tools
– Lockring Spanner*
– Cone Wrenches*
– Crank Puller*
– Crank Nut Socket (14mm)*
– Pin Spanner*
– Allen Wrenches 1.2mm-3mm, 8mm (depending on the bike)
– Spoke Wrench*

*Tools with the asterisk are bike specific tools that can be purchased at bike shops. All other tools can be found at your average hardware store.

If you really want to be a home mechanic with a sweet set up, there are many bike specific tools to work on many different kinds of bikes. Just start reading this website here to get started.

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