Wheels for Winners


Mission Statement

Our mission is to recycle and provide bicycles to Madison’s youth so that they can lead healthy and prosperous lives.
We believe that bicycling is a way of life. Madison is a vibrant community that supports healthy prosperous lives through biking.


Serving Madison and Dane County since 1992, WFW's earn-a-bike program provides refurbished bicycles primarily to high school and younger children who perform 15 hours of community service. In each last four years, we have furnished an average of 140 earners with bikes, helmets and locks.  As an all volunteer organization, we have 12 mechanics, 8 board members, and a part-time office manager who annually contribute over 1500 hours to refurbish over 200 bikes, fit bikes for earners, and run the organization  The combined volunteer service of our bike earners and our unpaid staff exceeds 3,800 hours annually.  
In the last four years, WFW has partnered about 80 community centers, school groups and Dane County organizations to get bikes into the hands of deserving kids (see the attached list of partners).  Without these groups, we would be unable to identify kids in need and find community service opportunities for kids to earn bikes.    For our partners, the opportunity to earn-a-bike offers tangible support for their programming.  Here are two recent examples: Leopold School incorporated our program into its service learning program, and Bayview Community Center used our program to provide bikes to over 25 kids from a wide variety of ethnic origins, who participated in Global Youth Service Day. 
We have historically assisted the following population of kids: about 80-90% of persons from a minority group, including African American, Latino, and Southeast Asian. Recent race/ethnicity data compiled from bike earners indicates that 19 percent of the persons we served are Latino; 23 percent, African-American and/or Mixed; 22 percent, Asian; and four percent, American Indian or Pacific Islander. 
Our community partnerships produce significant benefits, contributing to youth development, while promoting goals of community-building.and environmental sustainability (our bikes are returned to service and not landfilled).  Kids who participate in our program learn valuable lessons about community involvement and responsibility, and experience the rewards of giving to the community. Our efforts also improve the lives of kids by enabling active play and exercise as well as the other benefits associated with cycling.  In the hands of a number of bike earners, our bicycles serve as vehicles to transport them to school or jobs. 

Program Details

Maintaining strong relationships with community groups is at the core of our success, and an essential ingredient in these relationships is meeting the needs of our parnters. To this end, we reached out to key partners to understand how kids are using our bikes.  We learned that simple problems such as flats and disengaged chains were keeping a number of earners from using their bikes.  To see how we might meet these needs, we started in 2017 by pilot testing the concept of holding repair clinics at community centers.  In 2018, we expanded our efforts to include ride support and repair clinics and continued this work into 2019.
To accomplish the goals of this project, we have:
• Developed and distributed certificates for bike earners,
• Trained shop staff and dedicate shop time to perform maintenance and repair activities,
• Identified and secured participation of community organizations to hold repair clinics,
• Acquired additional tools, spare parts, supplies, and other equipment to perform repairs,
• Organized experienced volunteer mechanics into work groups to repair bikes, and evaluated other options to delivery repair services, and
• Purchased additional helmets and locks for distribution in connection with repair events.

Primary Issue
Climate Change
229 S. Fair Oaks Avenue
Madison, WI 53704
United States
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