Bikes Not Bombs uses the bicycle as a vehicle for social change to achieve economic mobility for Black and other marginalized people in Boston and the Global South.
Bikes Not Bombs envisions a more just, equitable, and sustainable world powered by bicycles and led by Black and other marginalized people.
The Bikes Not Bombs community:
- Addresses the root causes of inequality, violence, and oppression
- Supports the self-empowerment of individuals and communities as a means to achieve sustainable, effective social change
- Includes all people in the social change process in order to challenge the forces and effects of systemic oppression
- Acts in solidarity with our local and international partners because this leads to collective understanding and strength
- Commits to sustainable, equitable consumption of resources as critical to the health of our communities and our planet
- Is courageous and bold in the face of injustice
- Uses the bicycle as a powerful vehicle and tool for social change
- Celebrates and builds upon the existing strengths of our partners and participants
Bikes Not Bombs work started in 1984 with a shipment of two bikes to Nicaragua. Since then we have shipped over 80,000 bicycles and our work has expanded to include Youth Pathways employment and training programs, as well as a full service, retail bike shop.
With the help of our stellar crew of container loading volunteers we are now able to fit around 500 bikes into each 40' shipping container we send!
Overseas, the demand for quality bicycles has sharply increased. Bikes Not Bombs takes its role in reclaiming bicycles out of the waste stream and repurposing them to communities in Boston and overseas seriously -- in particular, for our active international partners whose businesses and livelihood depend on timely container shipments of quality bicycles, parts, tools, and accessories to survive.
In Boston, there is also a greater need than ever to help youth develop vocational skills and pathways as an avenue for violence and gang activity prevention. Our three-year apprenticeship program engages youth staff as leaders in every BNB program.
In 1994, BNB established a Bike Shop & Vocational Training Center — a full-service shop to employ a diverse team of professional mechanics and Bike School graduates to recycle, refurbish, sell, and donate used bikes. BNB’s paid Youth Apprenticeship model was born, enabling marginalized youth to earn wages while building critical vocational skills through hands-on work, mentored by staff and volunteers who recognized their value, energy, enthusiasm, and potential.
Recently, Bikes Not Bombs formalized its multi-year Youth Pathways model, through which young people develop critical workplace skills, build a robust employment portfolio, and establish post-secondary plans that set the foundation for long-term economic success and thriving futures.