Van Asselt Youth Get Some Bikes

Bike Works has over 92 community partners. Each partnership is unique and allows us to do what we do best – use the bicycle as a vehicle for positive change. This heart warming email to the Van Asselt Elementary School staff highlights what we love about these partnerships.

Hi all,

I’ve been partnering with Bike Works, a local bike shop in Columbia City, for the last 5 years to get Van Asselt students free bicycles.  Wednesday afternoon was our most recent clinic.  During the clinics, Bike Works staff come to Van Asselt and lead bike skills & safety drills where kids practice riding through an obstacle course, learn road safety and hand signals.  They also learn how to do a pre-ride “ABC safety check” (air in the tires, brakes working, chain tight) to make sure their bikes are safe and functioning correctly.  At the end of the clinic, they get to keep a free BMX bike, helmet and bike lock.

This time around we had 6 kids participate, three 5th graders and three 4th graders.

UGGAB: Two youth in helmets at Van AsseltYouth getting ready to ride the obstacle courseYouth enjoying the ride around the obstacle course
[Image Description: Two youth stand side by side in helmets in the school gym, the shiny wood floor and compressed bleachers visible behind. Both looking at the camera, excited and also a little timid. The student on the right is wearing a gray long sleeved tee with a black and red-pinstriped sports jersey over the top and a matte black helmet. The student on the left is wearing a navy long sleeved shirt with a navy & white horizontal striped shirt layered on top and a shiny black helmet.][Image Description: A student sits atop a black BMX bike with their feet and kickstand both on the ground. Wearing jeans, a navy hoodie with a neon green design, and a shiny black helmet, his cheeks are puffed in concentration. He stares at the bicycle tire just visible in front of him. Another youth on a red bike is visible in the background , with one leg on the pedal and the other on the floor he is preparing to take off.][Image Description: A youth rides toward the camera on a blue BMX bike, looking past a cone on the ground that sits to his left. He is smiling, wearing jeans, and a olive and rust colored camo sweatshirt. He is riding in a gym, the shiny wood floor reflecting light. There are other kids on bikes off in the far corner of the picture with some adults talking them through their ride.]

Actually, this was part of the obstacle course – kids had to take one hand off the bars and look back over their shoulder to identify which sign the adult was holding (car, bus, cow). Now I know why the call him “Mr Moo”!

Educator holding a sign as part of the obstacle course
[Image Description: An adult looks at the camera, mouth upturned in a smile, holding a sign with the silhouette of a cow on it. The sign is large, covering most of his chest. He has light brown hair and is wearing a bright green and blue scarf]

Bike Works is a local bike shop in Columbia City (on S Ferdinand St, right around the corner from the Columbia City Bakery).  It’s a pretty unique organization in that they have a huge focus on education and empowerment of youth.  They offer many youth (and adult) classes and lead many bicycling events/rides.  They also have a very successful recycle & reuse program.

Blue BMX bike against the fence

[Image Description: A blue BMX bike, kickstand down, is in front of a chain link fence. The handlebars are turned in and the bike is locked to a post in the fence.]

One more pic.  Here’s what I saw on my way into the building yesterday: 

William rode his new bike to school the next morning!  That’s what this program is all about.

All for now,

[Van Asselt Educator]







It takes valuable staff time and resources to prepare these bikes for their new homes, to deliver them to the school, and to host educational (and fun!) bicycle rodeos so that the students feel confident riding their bicycle. Please consider hosting a bike drive benefiting Bike Works. Email to get started!