The Rochester Community Bike Club – Pata de Perro mentors hands-on skills in bike maintenance and repair to transform donated bikes into a safe and reliable mode of transportation, as stated on their website.
Giving kids a way to get around
Started by Miguel Valdez Soto in 2011, Pata de Perro’s mission is to embrace independence for youth and provide a way for them to have their own transportation. When Valdez Soto started, he’d heard of other programs in the country. He had space for bikes and started asking for old bikes. “The kids embraced the idea.”
Their website states, “Our goal is to mentor youth and adults in the community on the skills and provide access to tools needed to repair and maintain their bicycles or earn safe and reliable bicycles that have been donated for transportation to school, jobs or just fun and exercise.”
“We teach kids bike maintenance skills. A volunteer works one-on-one on a bike with a kid and provides hands-on mentoring,” explains Valdez Soto. The kid works on a bike with the volunteer. Then they can take their bike after three sessions. “We teach them to commit.”
Valdez Soto says many kids continue to come and volunteer after their three sessions. “Some kids come back every day. It’s a place to hang out.”
The organization also teaches people how to tune up bikes, and the club will tune up your bike for a donation.
How people can get a bike
At the club, anyone can earn a bike by volunteering at the club three times. Valdez Soto explains the bikes also come with a helmet, lock, water bottle and bike map. For people interested in borrowing a bike, they also offer a Bicycle Library, where anyone can borrow a bike for a small donation.
Upcoming annual bike swap
The Rochester Community Bike Club – Pata de Perro will hold their annual bike swap on May 7, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot next to the Castle at 121 N Broadway Ave. If you’re interested in selling your bike, the club asks that you give a small donation and then tag your bike for the price you wish. You keep the bike sale’s proceeds.
Paul Claus, a club volunteer, says, “Potential buyers purchase or negotiate directly with the sellers. The club will have a number of our refurbished bikes for sale to support the program.” He says it’s a chance to meet new friends in the community with a passion for bicycling as a means of life. The club will also have an open house at the club’s workshop. “It’s a good place to go if you’re searching for a bike,” notes Valdez Soto.
How to donate
The club takes bike donations throughout the year. If interested in earning, borrowing or donating a bike; donating money to the club; or volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 507-398-8009.
Or you can visit the workshop space at 115 1/2 N Broadway Ave Suite #117. Workshops take place Thursdays, from 5-7 p.m. from May through September.