CTEP and Cycle Forward: Bicycles for the Homeless

Eli Young with a representative from the Homeless Services Center
Eli Young with a representative from the Homeless Services Center

Eli Young is a forward-thinking San Lorenzo Valley High School soon-to-be graduate. Eli, who has just completed the Level 1 Bicycle Mechanics certificate in CTEP Bicycle Technology (sponsored by Project Bike Trip) at Scotts Valley High School, recently brought his love of working on bicycles together with his commitment to community service in a unique project he started called Cycle Forward. Cycle Forward is a bike loan program consisting of a fleet of refurbished bicycles, new helmets, locks, lights and materials on road safety, all designed to benefit the patrons of the Homeless Services Center in Santa Cruz. The staff at the Center will be taking on the day-to-day administration of the program. The users of Cycle Forward will have access to bikes without the expense of maintenance, the costs of which could be a barrier to the process of transitioning out of homelessness.

Eli’s Cycle Forward program is sustainable because of the continued support of the next class of CTEP Bicycle Technology students and, as Eli will be attending Cabrillo College, he can also continue to oversee the program in conjunction with Ms. Kilpatrick, the CTEP Bicycle Technology instructor. Eli had some help from his dad, a graphic designer, in setting up the program, as well as help from his church, Peace United Church of Christ, in raising the funds to refurbish the bicycles.

One of the main lessons Eli and his fellow students learned from their research was that bicycles could be a part of the process of changing lives for individuals who might not have any way to get around quickly, simply, and with autonomy. Eli met with the staff at the Homeless Services Center to determine if Cycle Forward could be of benefit and coordinated the launch of the program during a time of sudden funding crisis at the Center.

 

Eli Young with his Dad
Eli Young with his Dad
Cycle Forward bicycles
Cycle Forward bicycles
Eli Young with ROP instructor Ms. Kilpatrick
Eli Young with ROP instructor Ms. Kilpatrick

Article Update: Eli Young Testimonial

Hi, my name is Eli Young and I took the CTEP Bike Tech course as a senior at San Lorenzo Valley High School in 2015. I have always loved bikes since I was little. I have been riding bikes since before I can remember.

I decided to take CTEP Bike Tech because I always had very positive experiences with all of the other CTEP classes that I took throughout high school. The CTEP teachers go above and beyond to give their students the best experiences and, most importantly, I learned real world skills that I use every day.

I took this course at the Scotts Valley High campus since it was not offered at my campus, and found that it was well worth the short drive. My instructor, Therese Kilpatrick, was amazing; she taught me so much about working on bikes throughout the year. I also learned a lot about myself during this time, realizing that I wanted to make use of the new skills I had acquired.

I started by using my new knowledge to create a bike loan program for the Santa Cruz Homeless Service Center. I raised money and received donations of used bikes and the rest of the CTEP Bike Tech students and I worked together as a class to restore them. This project is one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. The whole class had so much fun restoring all the bikes and getting them in great working condition so that they would be a reliable source of transportation. This project also helped all the students to greatly improve their skills as mechanics by working on bikes with problems that came directly from use and riding and not problems that were manufactured for the class.

This class also allowed me to gain the skills I needed to get hired in a bike shop. I currently work at Epicenter Cycling on Mission Street in Santa Cruz. This job is very rewarding, I enjoy every day of it. I work with amazing people who all share the same love for bikes that I do and I also get to see happy customers who also love bikes. This local community of bikers is something that I did not realize existed until I started taking the CTEP Bike Tech class. I have made so many friends through this class that I never would have otherwise.

This class was one of the best things that has happened to me. I made many friends that all share my passion for bikes. I can also say that I have helped out the community in a positive way, an opportunity I am very grateful for . Since CTEP Bike Tech I have made positive changes in my life and I am proud of the person that I have become.

Here are some photos of a handful of my biking adventures!

Pictures by Eli Young
Bicycle leaning against steel fence