Bikes Not Bombs 2022 Impact Report


"BNB has helped me mentally and emotionally. It's a safe haven for people who may be looking to get their mind off things and talk to people who can share their love for bikes, riding, and the love for the community.”
- Youth Apprentice Joseph P., 18

2022 has been a year of extraordinary growth for Bikes Not Bombs (BNB) thanks to board, staff, program participants, Youth Apprentices, volunteers, partners, donors, and institutional funders. We launched a new Bike School Hub in partnership with Children’s Services of Roxbury, growing our Bike School programs and serving more youth from Greater Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. We increased our number of paid Youth Apprentices, growing opportunities for Boston youth to discover new passions while developing critical work and life skills. Each of these expansions has served to advance our Five-Year Strategic Plan — centering racial equity while building capacity to advance economic mobility among Black and other marginalized people in Boston and the Global South.

Youth Pathways Model

Bike School participants, many new to BNB, built foundational mechanic skills and lasting friendships. Graduates of Bike School were eligible to advance to paid Youth Apprenticeships, where they worked alongside professional staff and peers as they explored a range of career pathways. Under the support of a new Youth Development and Transitions Manager, all Youth Apprentices benefitted from one-on-one case management and career coaching. As our Youth Pathways team grew, we increased our capacity to track youth progress through formalized competency-based assessments. By analyzing this data, we strengthened our insight into program design and implementation.

Copy of Bike School
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Bike School

We engaged a total of 117 people in Bike School programs during the spring, summer, and fall of 2022 — a 64 percent increase from 2021.

34 youth and adults participated in Bike Institute, where they learned how to build and maintain bikes to keep as their own, while exploring issues of social and environmental justice. 19 people — identifying as girls, woman, trans, femme or non-binary individuals — participated in Sisters in Action, where they built hands-on skills and confidence while challenging the stereotypes of an historically male dominated bike industry in an intentional, supportive environment. 24 youth enrolled in Earn-A-Bike, where they developed foundational bike maintenance knowledge and safe riding skills. 15 youth joined On-The-Bike, a program that focused on group rides to local destinations, including Arnold Arboretum, the Charles River, and the Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library. BNB also ran Bike School programming for 36 sixth through 12th-grade students at McKinley South End Academy, McKinley Preparatory High School, and Boston Day and Evening Academy — integrating BNB's Bike School curriculum into the schools' Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum. A new partnership with Children’s Services of Roxbury (CSR) provided BNB with the opportunity to grow our presence and deepen our impact in Greater Roxbury. A key component of this partnership was the formalized integration of social/emotional learning and trauma-informed curriculum into our Bike School programming. BNB offered three Bike School programs in Roxbury, engaging a total of 38 participants in our Earn-A-Bike, On-The-Bike, and Bike Institute programs.

Youth Apprenticeships


In 2022, BNB employed 45 youth as paid Apprentices in seasonal positions in our bicycle-based vocational training program; this represented a 63 percent increase from 2021. All youth were welcomed by BNB staff who served as mentors across four key operational areas: Bike School, Bike Shop, Bike Recycling and International Shipping Operations, and Bicyclists Organizing for Community Action (BOCA). Youth Apprentices developed professional skills within one or more of these focus areas before advancing on to the next level in the Youth Pathways program. All Youth Apprentices were involved in monthly staff meetings, where they gained insight into BNB as an organization and developed soft skills, such as communications, public speaking, and teamwork. 15 Bike School Apprentices helped teach Bike School programs. Facilitating mechanics lessons for their peers, they reinforced their own mechanics skills and grew confident in their capacity to plan and teach lessons. 17 Bike Shop Youth Apprentices attended to customers and refurbished bikes in our mission-driven, full-service shop. 20 Youth Apprentices completed an expanded 108-hour Advanced Mechanics course, where they honed competencies related to repairing and refurbishing bikes. Staff and Youth Apprentices also participated in an E-Bike training, where they learned how to diagnose and address mechanics issues specific to the emerging technology. 3 Youth Apprentices worked in Bike Recycling and International Shipping Operations, where they helped inventory donated bikes and prepare them for distribution.

13 Bicyclists Organizing Community Action (BOCA) Youth Apprentices engaged the greater community around issues of healthy living and transportation justice while increasing affordable bicycle infrastructure in neighborhoods recovering from a legacy of disinvestment.

Two lead youth organizers, focusing on mobility justice and healthy living, worked with Youth Apprentices as part of the BOCA team. Apprentices provided free bicycle service to local families at 12 Chain Reaction mobile bike repair events — at community rides; local farmers’ markets in Mattapan and Egleston Square; and City of Boston Open Streets Events in Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and Dorchester. Youth explored the intersection of social and environmental justice topics through civic engagement; they participated in a bike ride to City Hall with Mayor Wu, a neighborhood event with Congresswoman Pressley, a community listening session with the City of Boston’s Commission on Black Men and Boys, and a restorative justice event with the Boston Student Advisory Council. Youth joined monthly Ride for Black Lives events in the spring and summer and partnered with a coalition of organizers to plan the Youth Lead the Way Ride in August. Youth Apprentices developed a bike route highlighting historic civil rights sites across Dorchester and Roxbury. Three Youth Apprentices addressed the crowd before the ride, honing public speaking skills while sharing stories about their experiences as young people of color, both on and off the bike. Our BOCA team worked with BNB’s Racial Equity Committee to develop, disseminate, and analyze a Racial Equity Survey for BNB stakeholders. “Wellness Wednesday” activities provided opportunities for Youth Apprentices to engage in exercises that addressed physical and emotional well-being.


2022 also brought new opportunities for Youth Apprentices to explore different styles of biking, including mountain biking, trail rides, and overnight bike-packing trips. With the support of New England Mountain Biking Association (NEMBA) and volunteers, youth expanded their bike knowledge by building their own mountain bikes and navigating uneven terrain on two trail rides. In a three-day, two-night bike trip, three youth biked and camped along a 54-mile route from Jamaica Plain to Weymouth and back, thanks to the support of the Adventure Cycling Association. Along the way, riders explored the history of local land through the lens of social justice and resistance movements and camped in the Blue Hills Reservation and Wompatuck State Park. Youth designed an all-day gravel ride, along which they experienced the joy of fall New England trail riding. Again pushing the boundaries of what they thought they were capable of, five Youth Apprentices rode in the 35th annual Bike-A-Thon, including three who rode the 100-mile route.

Bike Collection and Distribution

In 2022, BNB collected thousands of bicycles from neighbors across Greater Boston through volunteer-led bike drives and drop-offs. Youth Apprentices, volunteers, and staff sorted and processed each bike for use across our programs and operations, which involved stripping unusable bikes for parts, sorting those parts, and identifying the best use for each bike. We also welcomed dozens of committed volunteers to our newly revitalized weekly Volunteer Night, where we processed donated bikes for local and international programs. Thanks to the implementation of a new inventory management system, BNB is now able to track every bike that comes through our doors and its journey across the organization to its final destination. In 2022, we:

● Overhauled over 330 bikes for sale at our bike shop;
● Matched over 150 bikes to children and adults experiencing economic hardship;
● Allocated 250 bikes for our learn-and-earn Bike School programs;
● Recycled tons and tons of bikes, diverting them from the global wastestream;
● And shipped 481 bikes to our partner Learn, Work, Develop (LWD) in Rwanda, who provides bicycle-based educational and vocational training programs, primarily to young girls and women.


Thank You

As BNB reflects upon a year full of growth, we are mindful of the hard work of our staff, board members, donors, partners, and volunteers that enables us to provide life-changing programming and employment opportunities to young people in Boston. Thank you for your commitment to providing youth with a supportive, caring environment that fosters personal and professional growth; and for connecting people at home and abroad with bikes to learn, work, heal, play, and grow. We look forward to advancing this work with you in 2023 and the coming years.


In solidarity,

Elijah Evans
Executive Director