Little shop of hope
DreamBikes is part non-profit bike shop, part jobs program, part community revitalizer, all powered by bike. Kids in troubled neighborhoods get job training and mentoring, residents have access to affordable refurbished bikes, quality used bikes stay on the street and out of the landfill. Everybody wins, which is how bikes roll.
A few years ago Trek President John Burke issued a challenge to his senior managers: find a way to partner with Boys and Girls Clubs to help kids. Retail Services Director Roger Bird had an idea: open a bike shop in a troubled neighborhood, one in Milwaukee and one in Madison. Stock each shop with community-donated used bikes, hire and train neighborhood kids to repair the bikes and staff the shop, and sell the affordable fixed-up bikes to neighborhood residents. Roger pitched his idea to John, who responded: “Do it.” DreamBikes was born.
Five years in, the program is a great success. Dozens of teens have blossomed with DreamBikes mentorship, gaining confidence and learning skills from bike maintenance to business management. And the shops have addressed the serious lack of mobility in depressed neighborhoods by putting more than 5,000 rehabbed bikes back on the street.
As part of the neighborhood, DreamBikes sees problems and opportunities firsthand. Case in point: when staff saw how many local kids and adults were riding run-down, unsafe bikes, they launched a mobile bike repair service funded with in-kind contributions and staffed by skilled volunteers. The repair trucks provide free bike maintenance to keep riders safe on the road or on the playground.
DreamBikes has helped spread the two-wheeled love by donating bikes to other deserving non-profits, over 350 to date. All this, from the simple idea of opening a bike shop. Never underestimate the power of the bicycle!
At Trek, we believe that getting more people on bikes more often will make the world a healthier, happier place. It's our business, our passion, our mission.