ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Bicycles in all different states of disrepair come into the DreamBikes Rochester location on University Avenue, but the mechanics there welcome them with open arms.
For bikes that arrive almost completely unrideable, employees will strip them apart, and save what remaining parts are usable.
The used bikes at DreamBikes usually go for a few hundred dollars, and all of them are repaired on site. They acquire the bikes through donations, and repair them at a reasonable price, to put them back on the streets; into the hands, of those who need them most.
However, what makes DreamBikes so special is more than just the bikes that they fix, it’s the people they employ. DreamBikes hires kids from local Rochester City School District schools, and trains them on how to repair bikes and handle customers; valuable experience that could come in handy, later in life.
“I was recommended for a job here by the vice principal at my school for a job here, and I went through the interview process,” said David Gayle, a 17-year-old high school student. “We started talking about training, what we would do if a customer came in, things like that. This job has really helped me, a lot.”
Gayle has been learning how to fix bikes at DreamBikes since February. He hopes to attend college, majoring in mechanical engineering, with a minor in business.
As DreamBikes develops it's own young mechanics, the organization itself continues to expand. The Madison, Wisconsin based shop first opened in 2008, and has since expanded to a handful of cities throughout the Midwest and Rochester, with more on the way.
"About a year, a year and a half ago, the board of directors of DreamBikes decided that it was time to expand nationally,” said Rochester DreamBikes Manager Paul Barrows. "We had a lot of great stories, touched a lot of kids and communities, and it was time to expand."
Expanding, while using a simple bicycle, as a vehicle of change.