Community Bike Works is a neighborhood place for youth. At each of our three hubs—in Allentown’s Franklin Park and Keck Park neighborhoods and in Easton’s West Ward—young people walk or ride their bikes to join us after school in a safe and welcoming space. Siblings Nadjmadine, Ikhlas, and Gisma exemplify this sense of neighborhood connectedness. On the recommendation of their older brothers, the three started coming to Bike Works for Earn a Bike, Junior Earn a Bike, and snack time, respectively. Here are their stories:
"My brother signed me up for Earn a Bike. I wanted a bike! I was nervous. Mr. Adonis was the first person who talked to us. He was explaining stuff. He explained what we could do and what kind of bike we were going to get, and how we get to take the bike home when we fix it. And how sometimes we go on bike rides.
When we started working on our bikes, I didn’t know what to do. I was confused. Mr. José told me about what parts we were going to fix and who was helping us. The parts were bottom brackets, handlebars, and the pedals. When we started fixing things, it was kind of fun. We got to experience fixing our own bikes. I used the tools that they told me to use.
We practiced riding our bikes, and we practiced how to turn better. We learned how to use the handle brakes. Before, I had pedal brakes. I was confused--I thought all bikes had pedal brakes!
After Earn a Bike, I came to Drop-in. We colored, we drew, and sometimes we played games. Sometimes we made slime. Sometimes we go to the park. I like Drop-in because the other kids and grownups are nice and we get to play with them.
Then I asked if I could bring my old bike in and fix that bike in Earn a Bike, but that bike was kind of small for me. So I picked out a new bike and fixed that one. It is blue, white, and black. I ride that bike around the block. I like going up the hill and coming back down. Sometimes my brother takes me places with the bikes, like to another park. "
"I would tell other kids to come to Bike Works because it’s really fun and you get to get your own bike. Then when someone’s bike breaks, they could help fix it, or start their own business. I’d like to start a business that’s the same as Bike Works, but kids would learn about where adults go with their bikes.
So we could ride more!"
"My brother asked me if I wanted to sign up to do Junior Earn a Bike, and I said: “Yeah, because I’m bored.” I was shy. On the first day of Junior Earn a Bike, people were nice. I kept talking to more and more people and then I didn’t get shy no more. We kept coming to Bike Works and now we know everybody, and all the workers, and now we’re not shy.
In Junior Earn a Bike, I did arts and crafts and played games. Working on my bike in Junior Earn a Bike was fun because I learned different things about bikes. I already knew how to ride my bike! After Junior Earn a Bike I did Earn a Bike. I got to see new people and do new things, and learn more about bikes. We learned the ABCs for how to stay safe, so your bike doesn’t break and you get hurt. I feel like I’m a safer rider since I did Earn a Bike.
I like to ride my bike at the park or next to my house. Riding my bike makes me feel calm. It’s mindfulness. And you can get exercise, so you get strong.
I like coming to Drop-in. You can play games and eat some snacks and fix bikes. If you don’t want to come to Bike Works, you don’t have to. Don’t force anyone to come to Bike Works! But if you do come, you could learn to fix bikes!"
"I like coming to Bike Works to eat yummy stuff. I like to play games at Bike Works, like Jenga. Sometimes I win. I’m still learning to ride my bike. I’ll probably learn when I’m seven. Other kids should come to Bike Works so they can have fun!"