Table of Contents


Introduction & Recycle-A-Bicycle: The New York Model

Laying the foundation

Project Definition

Organizational Structure


Nuts and Bolts

The Bicycle Collection Network

Curriculum Content

Public Relations

Finding the Funds

Safety, Quality Control, and Liability

Last Words

Resource Directory & Bibliography

Appendix I - Financial and administrative information

Appendix II - Forms and Materials used by RAB [1 MB]

The Authors

Thank yous

Tools for Life: 
A Start-Up Guide for Youth Recycling & Bicycling Programs

Laying the Foundation

Where are you coming from?

The original goal of Transportation Alternatives was to promote cycling as a practical form of transportation, a mission that has its roots in the environmental movement. We've found that people starting RAB-style projects have come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are teachers, others are long-time bicycle aficionados and/or mechanics. A few come from the field of job training. There are even projects that focus on the entrepreneurial aspect of bicycle recycling. (A notable example of this is the Pinelands Creative Workshop in Barbados, which funds a traditional Caribbean dance company with a used bike shop.)

Whatever your origins, the project you create will probably incorporate aspects from all these realms. Be prepared to do some learning. You may be a top-notch mechanic, but you'll want to know how to write a lesson plan or a written exam. Your strengths may lie in fund-raising, but at some point you'll need to know what to do when someone says, "Pass me the hook spanner."

The Components of a Project

Sure, you can just run out and start pulling bicycles out of dumpsters, but you'll be much better off if you set up the basic framework of your program first. We've identified nine major components that are vital to a Recycling/Cycling youth program. These are:

1. Project Definition

2. Organizational Structure

3. Staffing

4. Workshop and Storage space

5. The Bicycle Collection Network

6. Curriculum

7. Public Relations

8. Paying the Bills

9. Safety, Quality Control, and Liability

While there is no specific order in which to address each of these components, each one is equally important to the success of your project. They should be in place before start-up or at least be included in your eventual master plan.

Remember that your situation will always be unique. No two projects are alike. The planning process takes time and is organic by nature. The fact that there are so many variations on the Recycle-A-Bicycle model is a tribute to its flexibility. As you evaluate your program's needs, take full license to modify the model we offer. Just be sure to nail down your approach before you begin. If nothing else, careful planning will reassure your supporters and partners.

Back to Top