Life hasn’t been easy for 18-year-old Dylan. Having been diagnosed with a form of Autism, he found school and life challenging at times. Dylan’s bike was his primary form of transportation; while searching the internet for a bike repair shop, he found the Salt Lake Bicycle Collective.

DylanAccording to Dylan, “The first time I came into the shop I was scared because I didn’t know anyone; but I got my bike fixed. I came back because everyone is nice and everybody is willing to help you even if you have a disability; even if you don’t have a disability everyone is willing to help you. At the Collective, I heard that I could earn a bike by volunteering and fixing some bikes, so I did and I got myself a GT. I love it and I want more! I just like working on bikes. I like to be at the Collective because it’s a good place to cope with anger, with stress. It’s just a good place to be. I have a disability that makes it harder to learn, but … I’m still learning pretty quickly … how to fix bikes. I have Autism spectrum one. It’s easier to learn bike mechanics than something traditional in school because it’s something that I like to do and that helps me learn. I have future plans to become an auto mechanic because I like to work with my hands. This is the best place I have ever been to.”

Dylan shows up nearly every day. He spends his time fixing up bikes for kids, tuning wheels, patching tubes and doing anything else he can find to help with around the shop. Dylan says that working at the Bike Collective is helping him learn mechanical and problem solving skills. Skills like taking apart a bike and putting it back together in the right order, as well as the importance of doing things properly without breaking anything. He is planning to attend Job Corps to earn a certification in auto mechanics. Dylan told us that when he’s out riding his bike he feels like he’s soaring through outer space.

At the heart of our community are people like Dylan and organizations like Salt Lake Bicycle Collective, where their mission is to promote cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation and as a cornerstone of a cleaner, healthier and safer society.

Click here to follow the Heart of Our Community blog. Throughout June we will be sharing more stories about the programs at Salt Lake Bicycle Collective and some of the people whose lives have been impacted by their services.

It’s organizations like Salt Lake Bicycle Collective helping people like Dylan that make our community great.

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