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St. Louis Bicycle Works Rolls On For 25 Years

St. Louis Bicycle Works (DBA BWorks) collects between 4,000 – 5,000 donated bikes each year. This volume accounts for an average of 65 tons being diverted annually through refurbishing, reusing, or recycling. In 2017, however, 90 tons of materials were processed; representing a 72 percent increase in diversion from landfills. Satellite drop-off locations are available and can be found on the website.

The charter “Earn-A-Bike” program gives kids ages 7 thru 17 a chance to earn a bike by learning about bicycle safety and maintenance from volunteers. They also learn to work independently and as a group to solve problems. Each year, about 400 kids graduate the program and receive a refurbished, size- and -age appropriate bike, a new helmet, light, and lock.

More than 10,000 kids have earned bikes over the past 24 years. Generally, the kids come from numerous ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic conditions. The widespread reach encompasses roughly 171 schools and 56 zip codes.

St. Louis BWorks also manages a fully-stocked bike shop of refurbished adult-size bikes for purchase. The public can browse the large variety of bikes, usable bike parts, and accessories for resale. New and vintage parts are also available to fit a wide variety of bicycles. Kids’ bikes and bike parts are used solely for the Earn-A-Bike program and are not for sale. All proceeds from the bike shop benefit St. Louis BWorks programs.

The non-profit organization operates out of a totall “green” facility designed especially for Bicycle Works (thanks to a benefactor). The completely renovated building uses geothermal sources for heating and cooling and a large rooftop 25 Mw solar array that powers the building and returns the electricity back into the AmerenMO electrical grid. There are also 9 off-site locations throughout the region to offer programs to a diverse and substantial number of children.

St. Louis Bicycle Works, founded in 1988, has grown into BWorks, which now offers three programs, Earn-A-Bike, Earn-A-Computer, and Book Works. All programs are built on the premise that everyone deserves the change to be more and to gain the skills they need to pursue their dreams. These programs provide children with the experiences and rewards that are fundamental to future goals and successes.

For more information about the programs, the bike shop, or becoming a volunteer, visit www.bworks.org or call 314-703-1302. The main location/store is located in Soulard at 2414 Menard, St. Louis, MO 63104.

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