Cycles of Change’s strives to enable East Bay flatlands communities to use bicycles as a healthy, low-cost, efficient, safe form of primary transportation. Cycles and partner agencies have been working for over 10 years to build a network of neighborhood-based bicycle education and distribution programs to serve the basic transportation needs of hundreds of Alameda County’s residents.
Cycles of Change currently operates the following bicycle education and distribution program components at schools and community centers in heavily “transit-dependent” areas of the East Bay:
- Bicycle recovery and restoration workshops in which youth and adults can readily obtain healthy, reliable, sustainable transportation. In the past year alone, Cycles has recovered, restored and distributed to the public approximately 1,000 bicycles (an estimated 350 individuals received bicycles at no cost in exchange for community service hours); approximately 1,250 community members (50-60% of whom are youth) learned basic mechanics skills, received bicycle repair services, or restored bicycles for their personal use at no cost; These activities take place at OUSD elementary, middle, and high school sites in the San Antonio and Fruitvale areas of East Oakland, and at our community shop, The Bikery, located at 2289 International Blvd.
- During- and after- school safe cycling education programs in which youth learn to use bicycles and transit as their primary transportation. Cycles’ Safe Routes to Schools cycling program, a partnership with Alameda County Public Health and Transform, has trained over 1,050 youth in basic riding practices in the past year through an 8-hour on-road training course given as part of their PE class. Pre- and post- test showed that the safe riding class brought about dramatic measurable improvements (ranging from 45-75% points) in students’ confidence in riding bicycles around their neighborhood, knowledge of traffic rules and safe riding practices, enjoyment of riding, and use of their bicycles for transportation. Since 1998, an estimated 4,500 youth have learned to use bikes and transit to go from their school to destinations around the Bay Area. Approximately 75% of these activities have taken place at middle school sites in East Oakland; the remainder is evenly divided between South/West Berkeley, South Hayward/Union City, West Alameda, and West/North Oakland.
- Environmental education and community stewardship programs in which youth gain an experience-based understanding of the practices of caretaking the human and natural systems that support our lives, through school/community gardening, creekside habitat restoration, and hands-on watershed education. These activities have taken place through 6-8 middle- and high-school based programs in East Oakland, serving over 600 students total.
- Internship/job training programs for older youth and adults that cultivate basic employment and business development practices, while increasing marketable skills and strengthening connections to larger community. These programs have taken place primarily in East Oakland, with over 60 students from various public high schools in Oakland.
- Technical support and resource-sharing Cycles staff have provided direct support to 25-30 schools and community-based organizations who are developing program components related to bicycle-based transportation, community gardening/urban farming, and healthy eating, and over 200 schools and other organizations have accessed our program and curriculum resources.
Cycles of Change’s ten plus years of success in implementing highly cost-effective bicycle education and distribution programs have positioned us to become a model that, if implemented regionally and statewide, will dramatically increase the use of active transportation in communities across California. This will attack the primary causes of health disparities by connecting urban communities to needed resources, providing opportunities for regular physical exercise, engaging youth in exciting and enriching outdoor activities, developing sustainable local economies, and lowering carbon emissions.