West Oakland's Bikes 4 Life re-opening with rides for all

A mural outside West Oakland's Bikes 4 Life pays homage to Marshall "Major" Taylor, the first great African American cyclist.

"It keeps me occupied, not doing trouble in the summer, and after I'm gone it's going to leave me with some experience," says Lamar, a 16-year-old who works at Bikes 4 Life in the West Oakland community bike shop's promotional video. After the completion of its remodels, the shop is re-opening tomorrow, Sat/11, and will be handing out free rides to the neighborhood kids.

The shop opened in 2009. It was a direct response to the spate of crime that was taking West Oakland's youth away from creative, productive pursuits and into Juvenile Hall. Bikes 4 Life welcomes the neighborhood's kids in for lessons in bike repair and maitenance -- skills that have the added bonus of providing kids with the tools for gainful employment down the road. 

Making a difference, one spoke at a time. Tomorrow, Bikes 4 Life celebrates the changes to its workshop with an event during which it will give away 20 bikes to neighborhood kids, and get some of its program participants up on their soap box to talk about how the program has made a difference in their lives. 

Bikes 4 Life grand re-opening

Sat/11 noon, free

Bikes 4 Life

1600 Seventh St., Oakl.

(510) 452-2453