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Guest 04-10-04 07:33 PM

Talented kid- where to direct him?
I met a very talented kid at the Chicago Bike Show- he is VERY adept at fixing bikes, he has a very good vocabulary and really likes cycling. I believe he's somewhere about 12- 13 years old. Anywho... he's very interested in doing something with bike mechanics, and he's also interested in doing some bmx racing. I think he also likes doing downhill racing too.

What I'm looking for is information to push him in the right direction. He lives on the north side of Chicago, and what I was hoping was that someone could point me in the direction of a bike shop or a team that would be interested in working with him. He's a really good kid- I enjoyed hanging out with him after the bike show ended on Sunday. We talked a lot about bikes, and he even did some minor tweaking to my folding bike too, which helped me out a lot.

The kid's family doesn't have money growing on trees or anything. No sign of the father, but lives with his mother, grandmother and sister. Limited income. But good family, and I really think he will go places.

Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions, etc. would be appreciated.



bentbaggerlen 04-10-04 08:02 PM

At 13 few bike shops would want him working in the shop, child labor laws and such. We have lots of kids that stop in the shop wanting a job, but you can't hire them and if they get hurt in the shop... I don't even want to think of the problems that could bring on.
But if hes into BMX do you have any shops in the area that have a BMX team? Or a local BMX track? Or maybe you have found a personal bike mec of your own.

Rev.Chuck 04-10-04 10:16 PM

I also would aim him at BMX for now. We could not have him work until he is 14. If he shows promise. a local shop might help him out. You might even be able to work up a "sponsership" of some kind.

If he is a good kid, with just a little help he will stay that way.

Guest 04-11-04 10:26 AM

Thanks. I hadn't even thought about child labor laws. I'll inquire as to his age when I speak to his mother, then see where we can go from here. I honestly have no idea how old he is, although I do know he has a birthday coming up in the summer months too, so if he's close to 14, he won't have to wait too long! I was going to take him to Working Bikes Co-op (, but now I wonder if he could even volunteer there if he's not of age to work. I'll call the guy in charge tomorrow.


pitboss 04-11-04 11:45 AM

Check into Blackstone also. They used to be a bike shop down south o' Loop. But burnt down a while back?
Anyways, they run a pretty sweet thing if I remember correctly where the kids can strip down bikes and build them up for themselves, etc. Ask Marcus @ Yojimbo's for more info on whether Blackstone is still running that program.

Guest 04-11-04 12:01 PM

Do you have any idea of where the Blackstone might be located?


pitboss 04-11-04 12:20 PM
Earn A Bike

Guest 04-11-04 12:38 PM

I see it. It's unfortunate, but that's a little far away for that kid to travel. I was hoping there would be something more on the north side or the west side of chicago. I would have a fighting chance with talking to his mother if I could show it was a bit closer to home.

We're probably going to head over to the Working Bike Co-op. Hopefully, it's not too far so that his mother would feel comfortable with letting him venture that far from home. However, it would be nice to know if there were other alternatives.


N_C 04-11-04 02:19 PM

Koffee, it is not just child labor laws that are a factor. But also insurance policies of the LBS's. When the kid turns 14 he can probably work in an LBS. The insurance company won't have a problem with that but there may be certian equipment he can not operate until he is 18. Like a parts cleaner for example. But child labor laws are still a factor until he is 16, then at 18 they are no longer a factor at all. Advise that he wait until he's 14 then direct him to an LBS where his talents would benefit both him & the shop. In the mean time talk to some shops about him, so when the time comes they will be ready for him. I think it's great you are taking this kid under your wing and are being a great influence for him.

Istanbul_Tea 04-11-04 03:34 PM

Mentor the lad until he's 14 and then can get a part time gig at an LBS. Hang out with him weekly-for instance on Saturdays-go for a ride with him, talk to him about goals, etc... really listen to him and his concerns about life & what's going on in his day to day activities... throw him some coin for doing work on your cycles, take him to lunch from time to time.

Mentoring is fantastic. I do it over here in NYC with 3 different teens. I rotate seeing them-1 each week-we hang out and talk and I mostly listen. It's amazing how much a teens eyes light up when they know they're REALLLLLY being listened to and heard.

Plus, it's good for your Karma!! It's helped heal my Karma which was in fairly bad shape after my teenage years. ;)

RiPHRaPH 04-11-04 04:59 PM

maybe Jr. Achievement at his school. you know. start a bike repair business. or partner with another LBS business.

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