The Baltimore Youth Kinetic Energy Collective (BYKE) is an after-school drop-in enrichment program designed to develop personal and professional skills in young people through learning bicycles mechanics, practicing safe ridership, and building community. we focus on youth workforce development, mentorship, and violence prevention.
The drop-in model gives youth members the choice and opportunity to use their own autonomy to access our space. Therefore, when a youth member chooses to be in our space, a brave space where they can freely express themselves, they are choosing to be in a positive environment where they get engage in programming more holistically.
The Baltimore Youth Kinetic Energy Collective (BYKE), a program fiscally sponsored by Fusion Partnerships, Inc., opened in 2014 when the founder, Chavi Rhodes, noticed a pervasive need for youth-focused bicycle programming in Baltimore. Youth were attempting to gain access to a local adult oriented do-it-yourself (DIY) bicycle workshop, but were consistently refused entry, at times leading to violent interactions and calls to the police. Seeing that other cities across the U.S. encourage youth who are passionate about bicycles to ride safely and learn mechanics, Rhodes gathered resources and a small grant to open a youth-only bicycle workshop that focuses on providing mentorship, restorative conflict resolution, positive afterschool and summer engagement, and workforce development for youth from underserved and disinvested communities in Baltimore. Since opening in 2014, BYKE has become a place where youth come eager to fix their own bicycles, participate in the earn-a-bike program, gain specific skills, and contribute to the community BYKE has cultivated within our shop.