Bike Works History
Neighborhood Bike Works was created in 1996 as Youth Cycle & Recycle, a project of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Our first youth Earn-A-Bike programs were launched through the Philadelphia Housing Authority, at Westpark Homes at 46th & Market, and at a church owned by University of Pennsylvania at 42nd & Spruce (now Penn Alexander School). In 2000, Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW) moved to St. Mary’s Church at 40th & Locust Walk.
In the following years, Earn-A-Bike, Saturday Drop In sessions, and Monthly Group Rides became staples of our program offerings where young people between 8 and 18 years could build bikes, go on group rides, learn mechanics and life skills, and make friends. “Bike Church,” a program for adults to use NBW’s workshop and tools, offered a space for anyone over 18 to learn about bikes, fix bikes, and help put the hundreds of bikes donated each year back into use.
Key moments in our history
1996: Youth Cycle & Recycle begins, soon to become Neighborhood Bike Works
1999: “Bike Church” opens to raise money and to train volunteers for youth programs
2002: Summer Cycling Day Camp launches in West Philly with 64 youth
2002: NBW expands with satellite shop in West Philly’s Haddington neighborhood
2003: First Bike Part Art Show occurs, with artists contributing bike-related artwork and sculpture for a fundraising and community building event for NBW
2005: Mural Arts Program paints indoor mural with NBW in St. Mary’s Church
2009: NBW expands with satellite retail shop in North Philly Shop and 2011 by South Philly Shop
2010: First Ride of Dreams takes group of youth and adults on ~250 mile bike ride to Harrisburg and back, followed in subsequent years by trips to Washington, D.C., the Poconos, and Hershey, PA
2011: NBW youth and staff travel to the first ever Youth Bike Summit in New York City
2013: NBW launches the Youth Bike Education & Empowerment Program (YBEEP) to engage youth in longer term skill-building and leadership development activities
2015: NBW moves all operations to Lancaster Avenue to better accommodate the needs of our growing youth and community programs