Earn-A-Bike/Drop-In Hours

Organization Sponsor: Charlie’s FreeWheels


Program Description

Charlie’s FreeWheels is open for Drop-In hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 4:00-6:00.During this time youth who have gone through our Charlie’s FreeWheels programming have full access to tools and they are able to ask an experienced mechanic any questions about how to maintain their bicycle.

Earn-A-Bike is a program initiated by Sohel Imani, head mechanic. Students are required to volunteer for 20 hrs at Charlie’s FreeWheels as a way to EARN a bike. The students also have an opportunity to learn many practical skills while working at the shop along side a mechanic. We always have a great group of students and this program has gained popularity from past students encouraging their friends to attend.

Our core programming, is an educational after-school program that teaches basic bicycle building, mechanics and safety skills to youth. Charlie’s FreeWheels offers a Build-A-Bike program that teaches bicycle mechanics to youth. It gives youth the opportunity to build their own bike by refurbishing a used one. At the end of the program, participants get a new bike, accessories and the necessary skills to safely ride and maintain their bikes.

Other programs available:

Charlie’s FreeWheels is open for Drop-In hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 4:00-6:00.

DIY Pedal-Powered-Parts-Washer for Charlie’s.

Mobilized FreeWheelers: Youth Advocacy

Girls Build-A-Bike 

Build-A-Bike Afterschool

Charlie’s Rides-Bike Club

Mobilized FreeWheelers- Cycling Education

Charlie’s Racing Team


Program Approximate Cost: 

The program is free for participants.

Funding Sources: 

Our programming depends on used bicycles. We accept all bicycles, parts and accessories as long as they are relatively free of rust. A charitable receipt may be given for donations over $25.00.

Charlie’s FreeWheels works in partnership with the Regent Park Community Health Centre. Charitable donations to Charlie’s FreeWheels are processed by their administrative team. Please make all cheques payable to The Regent Park Community Health Centre and include a memo on your donation to deposit the donation to Charlie’s FreeWheels’ account.

Pathways to Education, Charlie’s Bike Joint, Pan/ParaAm Games, Downtown Yonge BIA, WoodGreen Community Services,Laidlaw Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Bulldog Trust,CIBC,

Strategies For Sustainability: 

We’re a non-profit organization on a mission to inspire a spirit of exploration in the youth we serve. We use bicycles to mobilize, empower and engage young people. 

Charlie’s FreeWheels shares its programming space with a for-profit shop called Charlie’s Bike Joint. Charlie’s Bike Joint is operated by Derek Chadbourne, a long time advocate in Toronto’s cycling community. The shop is a satellite of Derek’s shop, The Bike Joint.

 Charlie’s Bike Joint is a separate entity, however Charlie’s FreeWheels relies on support from the store. Charlie’s FreeWheels orders all its new parts at-cost through the store, and the Bike Joint pays half of the rent, the utilities and the cost of internet and phone.

Impact Of Program: 

So far, over 150 participants have gone through Charlie’s FreeWheels Build- A-Bike programming. All participants complete the program with a bike they have built themselves, a new lock, a helmet and the skills and tools they need to safely ride and maintain their bicycles for a lifetime to come. Youth are only able to keep their bicycles if they have attended a mandatory workshop on safe cycling

Key Elements Towards Success: 

To support the development of empowered young leaders, to build on the strengths of the community and to become a leading resource for youth to engage with cycling issues in Toronto.”

“We aim to inspire a spirit of exploration and to mobilize, empower and engage youth using bicycles as a driver for personal growth and positive social Change”

Length and Stage of Project: 

Build-A-Bike program began in 2009.

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