Bicycle and youth-focused nonprofit gets new home in DC

D.C. nonprofit “Gearin’ Up Bicycles” is getting a change of address.

The organization is leaving its original location in Eckington and moving to 1811 Rhode Island NE.

The nonprofit focuses on creating career development opportunities and teaching essential workplace skills to youth from underserved communities. Trained youth mechanics save and refurbish abandoned and unwanted bicycles to prepare them for sale.

The organization has been in its original location since 2014. Keith Jackson, the general manager of Gearin Up Bicycles’ Washington, D.C., explained that the organization is really about the youth.

“We try and teach bicycle mechanics to youth — not just as something to do to keep them busy, but also to get them motivated and get them to understand that working with their hands is something that’s enjoyable,” Jackson said.

He said initially the organization heavily considered staying at its Eckington location, but a great opportunity presented itself.

“Our lease had expired and we were going to try and make this space work but the more we tried to think about it the more we realized it just made more sense to us to find a newer place with a blank slate, with an open floor plan where we could actually create and have a little more flexibility,” Jackson said.

During the pandemic, the need for bicycles increased drastically.

“I sold every bike I had in 40 minutes and it pretty much went on that way every week until the winter of 2020,” Jackson said.

In the future, he would like to see more minorities in the bike business.

“I’ve also actually been in the bicycle industry since 1995 and one thing I’ve also taken note of is the lack of Black people and minorities working in the industry,” Jackson said. “I want to see bicycle shop managers, I want to see bicycle retail managers, sales managers.”

DaiQuan Medley, the shop manager, has been with the organization for almost a year and he called Gearin’ Up an outlet to the community, saying he wants to be able to give kids career readiness skills in multiple different aspects.

Medley said he wants to see the organization expand in the future.

“I would love for it to have multiple locations and expand it’s just — it’s going to take time.”

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