Another post, to show what's been going on at the Workshop..
Few months back, Wiltja Boarding College asked us to run a bike-building event, something for their students to do one Saturday. We would supply bikes; the boys would help fix them; fixed bikes would go to a worthwhile cause.
I wasn't sure. The Workshop is set up for people bringing their bikes in to us, to work on at Plympton. We did have a lot of spare parts and frames - b ut usually takes a lot of work to build something of those - and I wasnt sure how muc of this, the students could do themselves.
On the other hand, Wiltja's idea, fitted another project we were running. "Bikes for Refugees" also gives bikes to primary schools in Port Augusta. One school, near a BMX track, needed a "class set" of bikes. I had rashly agreed to supply one. A "class set" is 30 odd bikes. I had been collecting BMX-size parts, tyres, wheels, frames, handlebars, and broken bikes. But still needed to build, and test, and check. And the BMX scrap-heap was clogging up the shipping container at the workshop...
Sat 17th - Tamba and I drove the BMX "scrap-heap" to Wiltja. I was thinking the students would get maybe 3 or 4 bikes out in the time they had. But would see.
Wiltja students are from the far north of SA. They board in Adelaide, to attend secondary school. They were a bit shy at first, but soon were blowing up tyres, trying brakes, changing tubes, looking for parts to make the bikes go. Lots of noise, lots of activity. By lunch, a few students were riding bikes around ..... over the afternoon, the site became messier and messier, with parts and bits everywhere. But more students were riding round on bikes.
At 3, the staff called it a day, and we started to pack up. Picking up parts to put back in the trailer, I realised they were mostly junk: broken parts, the students had removed. They would go in the bin, not back to Plympton. And of the "BMX scrap heap" - well, there wasn't much left! The students had made it all into bikes! So we brought back 13 or 14 very rideable bikes, and well road-tested. Rather than, as I'd feared, a heap of parts and pieces, to go back into the container for now, and still needing work.
The students were great, and we couldn't have done a better job ourselves!
Also - the things that young people build, are different from the things adults build, even if they use the same materials. I think the Port Augusta kids will like the bikes, the Wiltja students created.... The finished bikes still need a bit of work, but should l go to Pt Augusta hopefully this Easter.
Some thoughts for the Workshop. First, this event really worked. The students enjoyed building, and we hope, had a sense of achievement, having turned a pile of scrap, into bikes they could then ride around and have fun on. Was good for us, as they did a better job of bike building than we would.
The Workshop may get asked to do more off-site activities in future: so I'm putting together, 6 or 7 sets of basic tools, so we can do that, without leaving the Workshop short. .
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