What is Phoenix Bikes? In mythology a phoenix is a bird with a cyclical life, that is to say it is reborn, given another life. Not too surprising then that Phoenix Bikes is a local bike organization that is bringing old bikes back to life.
Also not surprising that Bikes for the World would be all about supporting Phoenix Bikes. Based in Arlington Virginia, Phoenix Bikes is right within our target donation area, 'the world'. Bikes for the World is proud to regularly donate bikes to this local program and here's why:
Like all of our beneficiary projects around the world, Phoenix Bikes is about so much more than just bikes. Phoenix Bikes works with area youth, teaching them about bikes, but more importantly helps build young leaders and strong community connections. They are learning skills to revive a bike, but also building skills that will take them even farther in life than that bike ever will.
Through their after school programs, Phoenix, in a sense, is also recruiting young mechanics. Phoenix is in more than half a dozen Arlington schools teaching kids how to fix a flat, adjust their brakes, and how to properly shift while riding.
They then work in a team to bring a bike back from the ashes that will be donated to a community member in need. Giving back to the community comes first. In the end, everyone comes to the Phoenix Bikes shop and has the opportunity to build their very own bike. Some like Noe and Robel never leave.
Noe is a guy who knows this program well. He has over four years under his
belt greasy mechanic apron. He joined Phoenix Bikes in the summer of 2013 and he instantly impressed everyone with his attention to detail and incredible patience, traits that have served him well behind the bike stand.
Noe has recently taken on a new role with Phoenix Bikes: bike club instructor at Hammond School in Alexandria. He also serves as shop manager during "Youth Run the Shop Days" at the Phoenix compound. He's the captain of Team Phoenix, the racing squad, often leads community rides, and serves as the Youth Advisory Council President.
There is absolutely no doubt that Phoenix Bikes is helping to build leaders. Noe is very effective in his leadership roles because one of his key missions is to make meetings fun and more importantly, he wants to make sure everyone feels welcome and has a platform to be heard.
Bringing an activity like riding or even mechanics into a school brings with it a unique experience for some kids who may otherwise feel left out. For a student who isn't an athlete on a team, they sometimes miss that camaraderie a team provides and of course learning to work together toward a common goal.
Robel was introduced to Phoenix Bikes at TJ Middle School back in 2014. He earned his first bike, outgrew it, and earned a replacement. He grew into racing, both mountain and road bikes. He is a strong member of Team Phoenix serving as role model to the younger riders coming through the shop.
Robel also participates in the Phoenix Saturday rides where they often incorporate community service within the ride. He has volunteered with BfW during collection events we've had in Arlington. Robel joined Phoenix this summer in an advanced mechanics camp. He proves day after day he is strong both on and off the bike.