Thirty-six thousand pounds of waste is certainly noticeable. Especially when it is in the form of bicycles piled high in a landfill. It equates to about 1,200 bikes, and that is the number that the Recycle-A-Bicycle program spares New York-area landfills annually with its salvage and refurbishment programs. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit is a community-based bike shop in New York City (with storefront locations in the East Village and DUMBO and an education center Long Island City, Queens) with a major focus on refurbishment, particularly when it comes to teaching today’s youth the ways of conservation, hard work and eco-friendly transportation. In the past year, Recycle-A-Bicycle hosted 1,000 youth refurbishing some 500 bikes and pedaling about 10,000 miles. Recycle-A-Bicycle receives all of its bicycles through donations. Instead of heading to the dump, most of these bikes are refurbished and resold, further promoting bike riding in bike-friendly New York City. Proceeds from these sales go directly toward youth training programs, where young adults learn bike mechanics and the importance of environmental education. Recycle-A-Bicycle Youth Bike Summit Those bikes received through donation that are no longer functional are stripped and recycled. Reusable parts are salvaged, while other metal parts are recycled, totaling about 12,000 pounds per year. Though the outreach is large — 500+ students and 10,000 customers and advocates — the personnel numbers are kept efficient by the dedication of volunteers. Recycle-A-Bicycle has just 12 full-time employees, coupled with 50 volunteer ride marshalls and 100 volunteer mechanics. The nonprofit hosts seven school-based programs throughout area schools, and sponsors advocacy-based initiatives and community events throughout the year in the New York area. One of its biggest events, the Youth Bike Summit, is coming up next month.

Youth Bike Summit

Recycle-A-Bicycle’s Youth Bike Summit will take place from Friday, February 15 to Sunday, February 17, 2013 at the New School (66 W. 12th St.) in New York City. This three-day summit promotes youth bicycle education and advocacy, prepping youngsters to tackle important bike-transportation issues of the future. The summit offers a keynote address by Enrique Penalosa, former nayor of Bogota, Colombia, and Devlynn Chen, Local Spokes Youth Ambassador; 15 workshops; tons of hands-on activities; and a visioning session detailing work in communities around the world. To get a great idea of what to expect at the 2013 event, be sure to view Streetfilms’ brief documentary video from the 2012 summit. A three-day event pass is just $20 for youths (age 22 and under) and $35 for adults. To purchase tickets, visit the summit’s Eventbrite ticketing page. For more information, see the Youth Bike Summit website. To learn how to donate or volunteer to the cause, see the Recycle-A-Bicycle website. You can also “Like” the program on Facebook.