Rich City Rides (RCR) offers 5 signature programs: 1) the Earn-A-Bike (EAB) program; 2) the Commuter Cyclist (CC) program; 3) the RCR Community Shop; 4) Bicycle Repair Workshops; and 5) Social Rides.Our youth Earn-A-Bike (EAB) and adult Commuter Cyclist (CC) programs create training and employment opportunities for members of low-to-no income communities. These programs provide participants with helmets, lights, locks, and bicycles in exchange for apprenticing at the Bike Shop and joining social rides.
In the Youth Earn-A-Bike Apprentice program, youths work on projects in teams, developing face-to-face familiarity with each other. They engage in special family bicycle tours that grant special prizes for youth members who bring their parents on rides.
Something beautiful happens every time we host an EAB workshop. The youth-focused workshops draw in children of all ages, each working in groups at their own pace and skill level to complete projects. We work on bikes together. The children are directed to work on each other’s bikes in teams rather than alone, creating opportunities for them to experience teamwork, develop communication skills, and build camaraderie that continues to grow over time. They take these experiences with them beyond the bike shop and into their homes, their neighborhoods, their lives.
Youth earn a bicycle by giving their time and attention to the program. Productive time spent in the program is exchanged for bicycles, but before a bike can be earned, the Youth Jr. Apprentice must first earn a helmet, set of lights and a lock. During their time earning this equipment they are taught and encouraged to properly use the safety equipment and are required to bring it with them to each workshop. To encourage and support our Inter-generational Family Initiative we reward additional time points to participants who introduce new kids to the program. Even more points are given for bringing parents and family members into the mix.
Commuter Cyclist Program
Our Commuter Cyclist (CC) program works with low-to-no income adults to provide bicycles and bicycle maintenance and safe cycling skills. Members apprentice with our staff to improve interpersonal skills, develop consistency, and to increase organizational and mechanical capacity. Commuter Cyclist program members are notified of job/career postings while receiving encouragement, support, and mentoring to create cooperative entrepreneurial projects.
Rich City Rides Bike Skate Shop
While the organization has been in existence since 2012, the Rich City Rides Bike Skate Shop has been in operation since 2014 and is our first successful self-sustaining entrepreneurial project. The shop provides space for our community programs and currently employs three Richmond residents–one Latino and two African Americans. The shop has been democratically run since its inception and is in the process of becoming the first worker-owned cooperative business in Richmond, California.
Bicycle Repair Workshop
We host free two-hour Bicycle Repair workshops every Friday. The workshops are open to everyone and provide a safe space for community to gather and work together to share skills, learn new skills and get one another back on two wheels. To date, Rich City Rides has hosted over 280 workshops, directly engaging over 1,168 participants.
In a continued effort to combat youth and adult obesity-related disease such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke induced by sedentary lifestyles, and increase pride in our city, Rich City Rides has continued to host social group lead bicycle rides. We gather community for these rides through our programs and gather several times a month to celebrate the city on our bikes together as one Richmond. To date we have hosted over 224 social rides directly engaging over 2,500 participants, traveling many thousands of miles, burning just as many calories and galvanizing community.
What makes us Innovative?
Rather than using the existing petroleum-based market to establish new businesses and inspire enterprise, Rich City Rides is introducing at-risk communities to the emerging “green” markets, sparking a host of ideas of how under-served communities can help develop carbon neutral solutions in the face of Climate Change. RCR focuses on the bicycle, as an alternative to motorized transportation; an affordable, money saving, resource conserving and healthy choice that should be available and accessible culturally to all, not just those with the privilege to choose.
What makes us so Different?
Unlike other EAB programs, participants don’t receive a bike by building their own bike. Instead they work with a mentor to repair bikes for others, and with the guidance of RCR staff, work with each other in teams to run the bike shop collectively. RCR’s focus on interdependence (rather than isolation), peer-to-peer mentoring, and building relationships sets us apart from other EAB programs..