Pop-Up Bike Clinics and Community Rides
RTC’s Pop-up Bike Clinic program encourages kids to get out their "broken" bikes from basements and backyards and get them rolling and stopping again. RTC staff and local volunteers travel throughout the city and set up near trails or in parks to “crank” out repairs for patrons, many of whom are children.
The program goes beyond repairing the bikes; through observation, the kids learn how easy it is to “wrench on their bikes” (make repairs), and parents who drop by are enlisted to assist with more simple repairs, when appropriate.
During the pop-ups, we also discuss places to ride and find out what the community would like to see happen in terms of safe places to walk and play—all while eating delicious fruit. After the bikes are fixed, staff and volunteers lead a community ride to explore the neighborhood, nearby trails and cool parks a short ride away. Between 2012 and 2016, RTC held 42 clinics in Camden and Philadelphia.
Camden Youth, Cycling, Learning, Exercising (CYCLE)
Since 2006, we have been working with local partners in Camden to create an improved biking and walking network in the region, and educate and train youth to be users and stewards of trails. Hundreds of children engage in bike-repair workshops, destination rides and educational programs designed to raise awareness of how they can get around on two wheels and by foot.
Watershed Education by Bike
The Watershed Education by Bike program launched in the spring of 2013 by RTC and local partners as an afterschool program in three Camden City middle schools. Kids aged 11 to 14 participate in riding and learning events designed to teach them how different factors affect the watershed and ecosystem, and consequently, their own lives. In the summer, the program transforms into a day camp, with rides increasing in length from their afterschool counterparts.
In 2013, 77 students traveled by bike along local waterways—some trips totaling 35 miles. For many, the program was eye opening; none of the students had stood in a wetland prior to the program, and only five had ever set foot in a Camden waterway. Many participants also reached destinations by bike and trail that they never thought possible before, such as New Jersey’s capital, Trenton.
In 2014, RTC passed management of the program to the YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties, which continues to positively impact the lives of children in the Camden area. A detailed Watershed Education by Bike Resource Guide documents the program’s successes and provides extensive information for other local organizations to design similar programs.
WEB Expands to Philadelphia
Thanks to the support of the William Penn Foundation, in 2015 RTC expanded our youth programming across the Delaware River into Philadelphia.
In the Summers of 2015 and 2016 RTC educated 1,458 youth from 13 partner organizations in Philadelphia and Camden including Urban Promise, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Asian Arts Initiative, Neighborhood Bike Works, Simple Cycle and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia. RTC led the students on bike rides and walks on Circuit Trails while teaching about watersheds. Participants showed 90% improvement in watershed knowledge.
In 2016, RTC hired four local teens to serve as Youth Leaders. These leaders presented about our Youth Program at the Youth Bike Summit in St. Paul, Minnesota, developed their own lesson plans, taught watershed content, and led youth on rides and walks throughout the summer.
The 2015 and 2016 Circuit Trails Youth Sojourns led youth on multi-day camping and cycling journeys. In 2016, twenty-three students embarked on the 170-mile challenge and hosted two educational watershed festivals for 50 local youth campers. The sojourners also had the chance to explore waterways of the Delaware Watershed while biking, boating, horseback riding and swimming.
In 2016, RTC held a Watershed Education Workshop at Neighborhood Bike Works for six partner groups with 19 in attendance in order to train staff on how to use trails as an outdoor classroom for watershed education. Our Watershed Education by Circuit Trails resource guide was used as the primary reference material.
Special gratitude goes out to the Campbell Soup Foundation, William Penn Foundation, Advanced Sports International, Erlton Bike Shop and Danzeisen & Quigley bike shop.