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Bike Recycle Vermont & Old Spokes Home are two bike shops working together to serve our community.

MISSION

Bike Recycle Vermont & Old Spokes Home create access to bikes and the opportunities they provide for our whole community.

VISION

We work towards a future when every person can achieve health, mobility, and economic stability, and when every

person benefits from and contributes to a vital and livable community.

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HISTORY

Ron Manganiello started Bike Recycle Vermont in his backyard in 2005. A friend working for the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program asked Ron, an avid biker, if he knew where to get a bike for a Somali man who recently settled in Burlington and needed to get to work. Ron found a bike in a dumpster, fixed it up, and delivered it to the man. Soon after, dozens of requests for bikes started pouring in and Ron recognized that bicycles have a tremendous effect of people's lives; bikes expanded people's mobility, healthfulness, and freedom. Ron wanted to provide bikes and these opportunities for people who needed them the most. In 2006 Ron moved the operation to the basement of Good News Garage in the Old North End of Burlington where it remains today. In 2007, Vermont's non-profit bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization, Local Motion, adopted Bike Recycle Vermont as one of its programs. Between 2005 and 2015, Bike Recycle Vermont provided over 5,000 bikes and 10,000 repairs to low-income Vermonters.

In October 2014, Bike Recycle Vermont broke off from Local Motion and formed it's own independent non-profit organization: Burlington Bike Project. The goal in becoming a new non-profit was to purchase Old Spokes Home, a well-known retail bike shop across the street, and operate the profitable shop as a social enterprise that would sustain and expand Bike Recycle Vermont's social programs. The two bike shops have so much in common: they are both committed to refurbishing used bikes, they both specialize in serving people who bike everyday for transportation, they both see the bicycle as a solution to many societal issues, and they are both part of the fabric of the Old North End.

In January 2015, Burlington Bike Project successfully purchased Old Spokes Home. Now the two shops are jointly operated by Burlington Bike Project and work together to use the bicycle as a vehicle for social change in Vermont.

Visit our Media Kit + Press page to get more background about Burlington Bike Project and the shops.

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Neither People Nor Bikes Should Ever Go To Waste

We believe that every individual possesses enormous potential and has something valuable to contribute to our community. We are dedicated to discerning and developing untapped skills and capacities.

Relationships are the First Step

We believe that change begins with the interactions we have with people each day. We believe in taking the time to develop relationships with our clients built on reciprocal trust and respect; we are patient and take the long view when it comes to assessing the success of an individual or our work.

The Empowering Nature of Hands-On Work

We believe that hands-on work can be transformative and empowering. Fixing or building a bike provides a sense of completion and pride; working bike mechanics are a tactile and way to learn basic principles of physics, mechanics, and math; a bike shop is an engaging atmosphere for people who struggle in classrooms.

Bicycles as a Gateway

We believe bicycles are a gateway to personal, professional, and societal change. Choosing to ride bikes can lead to other healthy lifestyle changes; learning bicycle mechanics can open opportunities to explore other mechanical professions; more bike riders can change cityscapes and encourage more vibrant and livable neighborhoods.

Strength in Partnership

We believe that our work will have the most impact when we act in partnership with other organizations and individuals. We seek out partnerships that will leverage our impact and resources and improve our community.

WHO WE ARE

  • Dan Hock, Shop Manager

    Dan Hock started volunteering at Bike Recycle Vermont as a freshman at Saint Michael's College. He went on to work at Old Spokes Home on-and-off for 5 years and made his way back to Bike Recycle Vermont in 2009 to serve as an Americorps*VISTA. He became Bike Recycle Vermont's manager in 2013. Dan is an avid mountain biker, commuter, and bike tourer, having spent 6 months touring in South America. His favorite thing about his job is getting build bomb-proof commuter bikes for customers who ride their bikes every single day. In his free time, Dan can be found taking inappropriate bikes down inappropriate roads, cooking empanadas, and riding his backyard pump track.

  • Christine Hill, Outreach Director

    Christine started volunteering at Bike Recycle Vermont in 2010, served as the shop's Americorps member from 2010-2012, and became fulltime staff in November 2014. She loves Bike Recycle Vermont and is dedicated to using the shop as a way to connect people, build community, and improve individuals' quality of life. Christine works on marketing, program development, volunteer recruitment, and outreach to local business, schools, and organizations. In her free time she can be found hiking, gardening, or riding her motorcycle.

  • Brendan Merryman, instructor

    Many of Brendan's mentors growing up were bike mechanics, and when he wasn't out riding with them he was hanging out at his local bike shop (Rhino Bike Works in Plymouth, NH) picking up skills and knowledge about the trade. Now Brendan is a mechanic at Old Spokes Home and instructor for our Bike Mechanics 101 class. Whether it's road, mountain, or anything in between, Brendan loves bicycles and is thrilled to teach people how to ride and fix them confidently.

  • Veronica Wheeler, instructor

    Veronica started teaching classes at Bike Recycle Vermont in the summer of 2014, not long after joining the Old Spokes Home crew. To her, Bike Recycle is a hub for people looking to learn, gain confidence in mechanics, and find transportation independence. Helping students have an ''ah-ha'' moment while working on bikes is her big motivator. When not riding bikes, Veronica is usually reading, cooking (eating), or playing with her dog, Winnie.  

  • Old Spokes Home Staff

    The Old Spokes Home staff is an integral part of Bike Recycle Vermont. While most of their time is spent at Old Spokes Home, many staff teach Bike Recycle Vermont classes, wrench on Bike Recycle Vermont bikes, and run bikes, parts, and materials back and forth between the two shops across N. Winooski Avenue.

  • Ted Berg, Tuesday Night Head Volunteer

    Ted "Teddy" Berg is head-volunteer-honcho on Tuesday drop-in volunteer nights. Teddy commutes from Colchester daily, toured through South America for four months, and is a regular mountain biker and cyclocross racer. He also worked as a mechanic at Old Spokes Home. Teddy's day job is at COTS where he connects homeless clients with important social services. Teddy enjoys sharing his love of bikes with customers, neighborhood youth, and new and old volunteers alike every Tuesday night.

  • Rich Pearce, board member

    In high school, Rich rode his bike to and from work at a bike shop on the Ohio State campus. His commute was 10 miles each way... and this was before they even called it "bike commuting." Rich raced bikes through college and developed a lifelong interest in all things bikes. He started volunteering as a mechanic at Bike Recycle Vermont in order to help other people who relied on their bikes to have safe and functional transportation. Professionally, Rich has been working in the investment banking word since 1981. He's an enthusiastic Nordic, alpine, and AT skier.

  • Alana Shaw, board member

    With thirty years of accounting experience and an interest in putting her mechanical abilities to use, Alana took a basic bike mechanics class at Bike Recycle Vermont. She became a weekly volunteer as a bike mechanic and was quickly impressed with all the good Bike Recycle Vermont is doing for the local community.  After an elbow injury slowed her down from volunteering as a bike mechanic, she continued to give back to this nonprofit by joining the Board.

  • Yiota Ahladas, Advisor

    Yiota is a life long bike commuter who spent 20 years leading Burlington’s nationally recognized community development efforts.  She brings a practitioners perspective to community building with a focus on building the capacity of individuals and organizations to actualize their visions. Yiota's first job was delivering the morning paper by bike and it was her gateway experience to the power of the bike.  Yiota is an International Eisenhower Fellow and has served locally and abroad as trainer/consultant for the Interaction Institute for Social Change; the Global Communities Initiative, Associates in Rural Development, CHP International, and the National Service Leadership Institute.

  • Ron Manganiello, board president

    Ron Manganiello founded Bike Recycle Vermont in his backyard in 2005. He is Bike Recycle Vermont's number one fan and supporter. Ron can often be spotted around town in his day-glo Bike Recycle Vermont jersey, which is as bright as Ron is enthusiastic about bikes and the way they expand individual's opportunities. Ron is a budding mountain biker, enjoying his new Surly ECR from Old Spokes Home and spending his winters exploring the mountains outside of Oaxaca, Mexico.

  • Don Miller, board treasurer

    From Ben & Jerry's to Rhino Foods to Local Motion, Don Miller has a long history of working in Vermont's non-profit and for-profit worlds. Don worked as Local Motion's finance director before joining Burlington Bike Project. Don focuses on the legal and financial work at Burlington Bike Project while building up his own carpentry business.

  • Glenn Eames, advisor

    Glenn founded Old Spokes Home in 2000 and ran the shop for 15 years before selling it to Burlington Bike Project. Now Glenn advises the organization on how to leverage Old Spokes Home's resources in order to expand Bike Recycle Vermont's impact. He also swings a wrench as helps out customers at Old Spokes Home. When he's not at one of the shops, Glenn can be found enjoying is semi-retirement by diving into antique bike projects, backcountry skiing, or traveling to Cape Cod.

  • Michael McDonald, board secretary

    Michael McDonald managed Old Spokes Home from 2005 to 2009 and is currently a lecturer at the University of Vermont. He is a bicycle enthusiast interested in environmental conservation, natural resource management, and race, privilege, and power as it applies to natural resources and transportation.

WHY WE'RE HERE

 

Bike Recycle Vermont :: Mission

 

"We focus on bicycling because bicycles are the canaries of healthy communities... wherever you see lots of bikes you’ll always find healthier, happier people and thriving economies. But many people, even in communities with lots of bicycling, still do not benefit from bicycling.”

- Sue Knapp, author of "Defying Poverty with Bicycles"

 

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In recent years, the city of Burlington, Vermont has earned remarkable recognition in the national press. From being named the Healthiest City in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to earning kudos as one of the best cities for outdoor recreation (Outdoor Magazine), to being named one of the best cities for New Jobs (Forbes), this city of just over 42,000 appears to be a utopia of health, happiness and financial security.

Yet these awards and accolades mask a less rosy reality:

Burlington’s Old North End has the highest concentration of poverty in Vermont. According to Census data, over 31.4% of Old North End residents live in poverty (many are among the working poor), and 100% of the children qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
 
The homeless population doubled between 2008 and 2010. According to the 2010 Point in Time survey, the homeless population in Chittenden County grew from 424 in 2008, to 916 in 2010. A significant proportion of these individuals are concentrated in the Burlington area, where the number of agencies devoted to assisting them is high.
 
Over 6000 refugees have resettled to the area since 1987. Census data reveals that Vermont’s most diverse communities are located the Old North End of Burlington, as well as in its “sister” neighborhoods in adjoining Winooski. Many of these refugees and their children enter the country with limited English skills, which challenges their ability to find work, navigate the educational system, access crucial resources such as transportation and social services, and make meaningful community connections.
 
Among children living in Winooski, one in four has an incarcerated parent. And, when that parent is a father, says Dr. Mary Ann Donnelly-DeBay—a clinical and school psychologist for the Winooski School District—his child is four times more likely to be poor, to commit juvenile offenses, to run away from home, among other challenges.

 

It is precisely for these reasons that Bike Recycle Vermont—located in the heart of Burlington’s Old North End, and on the edge of Winooski—exists.

Bike Recycle Vermont :: History

We use the bike as a vehicle for social change.

Transportation Access & Poverty

The average cost of owning a car is over $7,000 annually. Public transportation in Chittenden county is limited. These facts hurt low-income people the most. Bikes are an affordable, reliable, and sustainable transportation option. Bike Recycle Vermont creates access to over 400 affordable refurbished bikes each year and provides 1,000 repairs for income-eligible Vermonters through its Get A Bike program.

Youth Empowerment & Employment Opportunities

Many youth in the Old North End and Winooski are first generation U.S. citizens and/or the first fluent English speakers in their households. They are often tasked with navigating social services, housing issues, and translating for their parents and olders family members, all while stradling two different cultures at home and at school and handling the pressures and stresses that come with being teenager. Through our Youth Shop and Transition programs, Bike Recycle Vermont provides a supportive environment where youth learn mechanical, leadership, and job skills, and find empowerment through learning how to repair and maintain their own transportation.

Building Social Capital

Low-income individuals, minorty groups, and people with metal health issues tend to live in the margins of society. We believe that everyone should enjoy the benefits of living in a beautiful, vibrant place like Vermont. Bike Recycle Vermont acts as a community center that connects customers, volunteers, donors, and class participants from different backgrounds who might not interact otherwise. People first bond over shared appreciation for bikes and go on to discover that they have more in common than they thought. Bike Recycle Vermont's programs have faciliated friendly, mentor-like friendships that have led to people with little social capital finding work, connecting with helpful community resources, and feeling like they are part of a supportive community where they are respected and valued.

Recycling, Resuse, & Resource Management

We believe in building a closed loop waste system. Bike Recycle Vermont provides a place for people to bring used and broken bikes and parts so that we can keep them out of the waste stream. Donated bikes are generally refurbished and put back onto the road. When a bike cannot be refurbished, it is stripped down into parts. The usable parts are saved and used the refurbish and repair other bikes. Bike Recyce Vermont goes the extra mile to reuse as many materials as possible (why buy bungee cords when you have a pile of punctured inner tubes?) and to properly sort and recycle its metals and rubber.