My name is Noah Hicks. I am a lifelong resident of the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood of Boston and the founder-owner of the Bowdoin Bike School, Dorchester’s upcycled community bike shop. I grew up in a house full of boys, my parents always encouraged my two brothers and I to be active. We used to ride our bikes around the neighborhood, but I became less interested in cycling as I got older.
It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I came back to it as an affordable alternative to public transportation or cars. I was always pretty broke so I ended up just experimenting on how to save myself money, eventually buying a run-down ten speed and fixing it up. I was a man transformed. I started buying used bikes and flipping them, adding my personal touch and reselling them for 3 or 4 times what I had invested. Selling bikes became a huge source of income for me and I wanted to share that success with my community.
I opened a popup bike shop in a small shed right in my own neighborhood. With a few dollars and my own tools, I started working with my neighbors and teaching them how to repair and upgrade their own bicycles. The goal was to allow people to take charge of their transportation and health in one step, building I also wanted to empower the youth of my community by training them in these skills.
With that in mind, I found a car service garage in Codman Square and converted it to a teaching bike shop, rehabbing, customizing, and selling used bicycles. We train and employ young people from Dorchester as shop mechanics. We still offer group bicycle rides and repair clinics for local youth. Community building through entrepreneurship. Seeing people and families go on biking events together gives me hope and reassurance for the future. Building that type of cycling culture here in my figurative backyard is good for business and good for the neighborhood.
I am working with Boston Center for Community Ownership to transform my business into a worker-owned coop so some of the people who have labored hard to build Bowdoin Bike School will get an opportunity to share ownership. I will be bringing The Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen, a community cafe and bike shop, to Upham’s Corner in Dorchester. I am so on fire for this. I want to share that passion with this community and hope that it inspires other communities to do the same.
SPARK IMPACT AWARDS
SPARK Boston is Mayor Walsh’s millennial engagement initiative. Our mission is to engage the next generation of civic leaders and social entrepreneurs in the work of city government. From dedicated public servants to community builders and connectors, millennials are some of Boston’s most impactful citizens. Each year, the City of Boston celebrates the millennial contribution to our city with the Annual SPARK Impact Awards.