Austin non-profit Yellow Bike Project burglarized, roughly 20 bikes stolen

The Yellow Bike Project, operating out of an East Austin warehouse, was born out of a love of bikes, a love of the environment and a love of people.

"I rode my bike from Massachusetts to Austin after I finished college, because I wanted to try to figure out what to do with myself, and when I got here, I realized how transformative bicycles can be for people," said Pete Wall, staff manager. "Initially, what we first did was we took bikes from like bulky pick up and just off the street, wherever we could find them, and we'd fix them up and paint them bright yellow and put them out on the street with a sticker that said, ‘free to ride but not to keep."

That was back in the late 90s. Now, the Yellow Bike Project works with social workers and donates directly to those in need. They also offer paid bike repair classes, free workshop opportunities and the Earn-A-Bike program, where anyone interested can complete 12 hours of volunteer hours in return for a bike. 

The night of May 5, the organization was burglarized. Roughly 20 bikes, along with their cash box, were stolen. They estimate total losses to be worth about $10,000. They also plan to install a new security system, which they estimate will cost an extra $5,000.

"For people to come in and steal bikes is disheartening. You know, I feel like if they wanted to come in during our open hours and volunteer a little time, they could not only get a bike, but they could also get some education and feel like part of the community," said Wall. "But instead they decided to come in the middle of the night, which is shameful."


Though the stolen bikes were from the sales rack, the theft ultimately impacts the donation program. 86 percent of their income from selling bikes and parts is used for the organization's operating costs.

To donate money or learn more about current needs, click here.