project leader
Sarah B
284 Amory Street
(Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan)
latest update rss
An update on our project!

the project

Chain Reaction is Boston’s first ever youth-run, after-school mobile bike shop and training center. The mission of Chain Reaction is to provide bicycle education, repair and sales in Boston neighborhoods without full-service retail bicycle shops. An initiative of Bikes Not Bombs' Youth Programs, Chain Reaction is guided by the organization's mission statement: Bikes Not Bombs uses the bicycle as a vehicle for social change. We reclaim thousands of bicycles each year. We create local and global programs that provide skill development, jobs, and sustainable transportation. Our programs mobilize youth and adults to be leaders in community transformation. Chain Reaction will offer  low-cost repairs, free repairs to customers who learn and complete the repair themselves, apprenticeships for youth, and road-ready refurbished bicycles for $50-$75. Chain Reaction will also offer periodic workshops on safety, route-mapping and bike skills, and will offer classes on how to ride a bike. Chain Reaction is the brain child of B.O.C.A., which stands for Bicyclists Organizing for Community Action and is made up of five high school aged employees of Bikes Not Bombs. Along with other youth mechanics, these teens will perform all the repairs, teach all the skills, and refurbish all the bicycles. In this way, Chain Reaction is a youth development project that simultaneously builds community, helps the environment and provides after school opportunities for at-risk youth.


the steps

Between March 15 and October 1, 2012, Chain Reaction will operate from Boston Boys and Girls Club locations between one and three times each week.

Prior to March 15th, Bikes Not Bombs Youth Mechanics will identify 50 bicycles that have been donated to BNB and have yet to be utilized in one of our programs. They will diagnose the mechanical issues present in each bicycle, and begin to make repairs to them.

BNB Youth Employees will need to develop methods keep track of bicycles being repaired, credits being earned, and bicycles that are sold. 

Youth Employees are already skilled at teaching hands-on mechanics lessons, and BNB already has five mobile tool benches and bike stands and the tools needed to complete most repairs. To make the shop run smoothly Youth Mechanics will practice transporting and setting up the mobile stands, will receive training in customer service and will refresh their mechanics skills.

why we're doing it

Low-income neighborhoods bear the burden of environmental hazards such as poor air quality and limited green spaces. Youth in these communities are disproportionately unhealthy because of their limited access to healthy foods. They are more likely to be unemployed and engage in dangerous or violent behaviors. While a bicycle cannot solve all these problems on its own, it can be a transformative first step. Bicycles are healthy, environmentally safe, affordable and easy to maintain ways of getting to school, work, stores and away from harm. While some may think there is an inherent cultural rejection of cycling in low-income neighborhoods, that could not be further from the truth. Simply, it is a matter of access and affordability that keeps residents of low-income communities from biking. Chain Reaction's mission is to provide quality, accessible, convenient and affordable bicycle repair, low-cost bicycles and skill building workshops in neighborhoods that rarely see any of these services. This is the first step to building safer, healthier and more mobile communities, and to building a strong case for why the City of Boston needs to bring bike lanes and green spaces to every resident in every neighborhood.


Bikes Tires and Tubes - $304 Cables - $223 Housing - $99 Brake Pads - $89 Patch Kits - $44 Grease - $15 Lube - $6 SImple Green degreaser - $15 Pumps - $10 Lights - $90 Chains - $150 All bicycle parts to be purchased from Quality Bike Parts Subtotal = $1045 3% 3rd party credit card processing fee = $31.35 ioby materials and labor = $35 Grand Total = $1111.35

Total raised = $643


An update on our project!

Since our launch in March of 2012, Chain Reaction has followed the plan of setting up our mobile bike shop in many different neighborhoods, with different community groups, and reaching broader audiences. From March – June we worked in three different Boys and Girls Clubs, in Boston neighborhoods without bike shops. We sold close to 30 bikes, fixed dozens more, and taught many young people mechanic skills. After a summer hiatus, we relaunched in the Spring, with a new plan, to run one and two time visits with new groups. We twice visited the Haley School, an elementary school in Roslindale, where we taught 1st through 5th graders how to fix flat tires, and take apart different bike parts. We spent an afternoon at Artists for Humanity, a non-profit in South Boston, where we fixed up bikes of the staff and youth participants. Finally, we visited the Medford Boys & Girls Club, and taught numerous small groups of youth how to fix their bikes. The goals of Chain Reaction were to set up our mobile bike shop in neighborhoods without bike ships, and to give low-income residents of Boston access to bike repairs, and mechanics lessons. In the coming year we have plans to set up a more permanent location at the Yawkey Club of Roxbury. Our goal is to be able to sell bikes and repairs and teach lessons on a regular basis from this location, while still being able to set up in other locations as requested.

Some of the great press we've been getting:


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Jason T.
  • Amy R.
  • Stephen S.
  • David W.
  • George Blake V.
  • Brandon W.
  • Brandon W.
  • Tia R.
  • Dana O.
  • Daphne J.
  • Drake K.
  • Roberto D.
  • Stewart L.
  • Christine C.