Local youth ride for racial and economic justice in annual Bike-A-Thon event

Boston nonprofit Bikes Not Bombs (BNB) is hosting its 34th Annual Bike-A-Thon fundraising ride on September 12, providing opportunities for people across Greater Boston to cycle 10, 30, 50, or 100 miles in support of local and international programs that use the bicycle as a vehicle for social change.

At least 10 young people, employed as Youth Apprentices in BNB’s Youth Pathways bicycle-based vocational training program, will ride in the “BNB Youth Apprentice” team. They plan to put their cycling and organizing skills to work to raise critical funds for programs that offer bike mechanics training, leadership development, employment, and joy to Black and other marginalized Boston youth. Their efforts, along with those of approximately 400 other riders, will contribute towards BNB’s goal of raising $175,000 through this event.

Local youth lie at the heart of BNB programs that bring people of all backgrounds together to work towards meaningful change in Boston and beyond. Frank Thomas Jr., a first generation Trinadadian-American from Dorchester, has been working as a BNB Apprentice for two years. Through on-the-job training — serving customers at the BNB bike shop, co-instructing bicycle mechanics classes, recycling bikes for shipment to international partners, and organizing for improvements to local transportation infrastructure — Frank “has gained unforgettable memories and knowledge about community outreach, bike mechanics, and social justice.” He hopes that more people will get involved and contribute to BNB “because of how we have changed the lives of people all over the world, while promoting social justice and addressing climate change.”

Bikes Not Bombs History

For 37 years, BNB has recognized the potential for bicycles to serve as vehicles for personal, social, and economic change. Launched in 1984, BNB founders shipped 18 reconditioned bicycles to healthcare workers and teachers in Nicaragua, increasing access to economic and social opportunities during a violent military dictatorship. At that time, their mission was literally “Bikes Not Bombs.” They have since come to see “bombs” as representing racism, sexism, classism, and the systemic inequities that prevent Black and other marginalized people from accessing the health, educational, and economic opportunities they deserve. In 1990, BNB created bicycle-based learning and vocational training programs to address the pressing needs of Boston youth. More than 4,000 young people have participated in their bicycle-based training and employment programs.

For more information regarding Bikes Not Bombs and the 34th Annual Bike-A-Thon event, please contact Gary Chin, Community Engagement and Events Officer at [email protected] or (617) 522-0222 x104.

You can also visit bikesnotbombs.org to learn more about the organization and its affiliated programs.

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