FOCST President Bob Lukens and son Kevin on the Cal-Sag Trail.
Friends of Calumet-Sag Trail Earn-a-Bike Program
Years: 2011 to present
This project is part of RTC's Metropolitan Grants Program funded through a donation from The Coca-Cola Foundation. Find out more about other projects.
Cook County, Ill.
Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail; City of Blue Island; West Town Bikes; Fuji Bicycles; Active Transportation Alliance
A comprehensive bicycle camp experience for children ages 12-16. Thorough training for youth in multiple areas concerning bike safety, maintenance and etiquette.
The Calumet-Sag Trail is a grand vision being realized through the enormous efforts of many people in the Chicago Southland region. The 30-mile trail will connect 14 communities and more than 185,000 people from Lemont in the west to Burnham in the east.
With RTC's support, Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail embarked on a unique and very successful program to engage youth in the area. They conducted a week-long bike camp program for 13 youth aged 12 to 16 in Blue Island. As part of this experience, the children were able to put their newly gained bicycle mechanic skills to use in their community. With partnership help from West Town Bikes, a Chicago-based nonprofit community bike program, and a local property owner, these children were trained to do basic bike repairs.
On June 11, 2011, the empty storefront that allowed Cal-Sag Cycles to use it was transformed into a "Pop-Up Bike Shop" right in the heart of Blue Island. Throughout the day, these youth performed ABC quick checks and basic repairs on 94 bikes for local residents. The opportunities for this group of kids to not only learn these skills but to help their fellow citizens get more bikes on the road was eye-opening for everyone. Project Administrator Steve Buchtel of the Active Transportation Alliance observed, "As a kid it is always fun to pretend to be an adult, and the pop-up bike shop gave these kids a chance to actually be the adult. Adults from the community came to them for skills they had and the adults did not."