First Earn-A-Bike in almost 2 years!
On October 11th 2021, we began our first earn-a-bike class in almost 2 years! 2nd Cycle staff, Avaro and Gus, dusted off their teaching skills. Wrenches at the ready, were prepared to get back into the rhythm of teaching a weekly class.
Reaching youth in the time of covid is tough these days. Many hours of online promotion and canvassing in the hilltop neighborhood led us to hosting 4 bright eyed youth into our community classroom. The building of the classroom was completed in February of 2021, mostly by 2nd Cycle staff, and is finally serving one of it’s many purposes, a teaching space for youth to build their new-to-them bike.
On the first day of class, the students learned about the 3 most common types of bicycles, the anatomy of a bicycle, and learned how to patch a punctured tube. This day involves a lot of teaching and talking to a group of students who already sat through a full day of school. But towards the end of the first day, students were able to pick out the bicycle that they wanted to build up. There were tons of smiles and excitement when students rolled their new project into the repair stand.
Following the first week of class, we then begin to start overhauling some of the bearing systems on the bicycle. Students completed a headset and hub overhaul on their bikes. Keep in mind that most of these bicycles are from the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s so most of the bearing systems had never been touched since they rolled out the factory! These tend to be quite enjoyable teaching moments because we often find student’s hands are completely covered in Park Tool grease by the end of the class.
Teamwork makes the dream work.
After all the bearing systems are buttery smooth and adjusted, we move into the drivetrain and braking systems. Students are highly encouraged to pick a bike with both front and rear, gears and brakes so they can have a bicycle that can take them anywhere! 3 students picked out flat barred hybrid bikes and one student picked out a road bike. Student’s battled their way through the dreaded cantilever brake cable installation. After demonstrating how to do so, students perfectly executed their brake cable installs and made sure their shifting was crisp and accurate.
Wrenches were turned, derailleurs were adjusted, nuts and bolts tightened. At the end of 6 weeks, 4 very talented novice mechanics earned their bicycles and were awarded new helmets, lights, and locks to make sure they only had to worry about where their first ride was going to be!
The day after our class ended, we received pictures via email from one of the student's family. Rose, who overhauled and adjusted everything on her bike perfectly on her try, spent the following morning walking her family through every component on the bike. She actually road her bike to school the next day! It's these student's passion and excitement that make this program special. We always love to see where two wheels will take you.
Rose (in the green helmet) riding in the drops on her way to school on a balmy morning.