Pittsburgh Rides it Forward
It’s an organization that says it all in the name: Free Ride. The Pittsburgh bike collective lets riders earn a refurbished pair of wheels by volunteering their time and labor at the Free Ride warehouse.
Clients start by bringing in an old, broken bike. They learn bike repair skills as Free Ride staff guide them through the process of refurbishing a bike for their own use. Once their own bike is fixed, they can repay the cost of supplies and training by teaching their new skills to others. Free Ride also repairs and sells bikes, and offers bike repair classes to youth.
Free Ride’s website describes this pay-it-forward structure as “get a bike, fix a bike, give a bike,” and stresses that the organization is even more about education than bike repair. The idea is that learning bike maintenance can keep people on two wheels for a lifetime.
Kate Malongowski wrote this article for The YES! Breakthrough 15, the Winter 2012 issue of YES! Magazine. Kate is an editorial intern at YES!
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