The Bike Workshop isn’t just about giving bikes to individuals or families, it can also tackle projects, with more reach.. .
Wednesday this week, we took one “class set” of 35 BMX-size bikes to Augusta Park primary school in Port Augusta. This followed a request from teacher Ben Kitchin, whom I’ve known since 2008.
Schools don't just use bikes for cycling...
Ben, at his old school, Wilsden, organised bike-fixing lessons (with help of the local bike shop), and when he was down in Adelaide, we used to supply bikes for him to take back to fix. Those were generally the ones that were too damaged to be worth our while doing up, but the school had resources for help, and parts. Ben got a lot of mileage out of them. The pupils learned mechanics and riding. Ben also encouraged achievement in other areas. Like Hogwarts - the school had four ‘houses’ and pupils earned points for the house they were in. Every 2 weeks the house with most points, held a “prize draw”, and the pupils who'd helped put their house on top, all got entered. The prize was of course one of the bikes - so the pupil got to take home a bike they’d probably helped build.
Ben is now at Augusta Park. He can't run bike mechanics classes, as his helper from the local bike shop, had retired. Last time we spoke, Ben asked about a “class set” of 30 bikes, to ride on the nearby BMX track. They'd need fixing up and delivering. It seemed feasible for the Community Bike Workshop to attempt. If it came off, would be worthwhile: bikes recycled; lots of kids get to try cycling; etc.
How the Community Bike Workshop went about theproject
It took 8 months to collect those bikes! We get few BMX size bikes donated, people hang on to them, or ride them to destruction. We did get some unexpected help - the type of help you normally only see, at a community enterprise…. BMX enthusiast Ashley did us “2 for 1” swaps – e.g taking a 1980s bike, which interested him for its design - finding for us, two modern bikes in exchange. Thus increasing numbers, and removing old-looking bikes the kids might not want to ride. Students at Wiltja College Adelaide, also ran a “scrapheap challenge” and built 10-12 rideable bikes, from spare parts (see blog earlier).
By Easter we had 35 bikes: the class set of 30, plus 5 spares. Some of these got fixed up at the Bike Workshop. Others, I did over the Easter break, with a bit of help from two young friends, Harry and Cassie. The bikes included: almost new Haro BMXs – 4 strong, well used Mongoose BMXs; children’s bikes for general riding, e.g Raleigh ; mass market brands, eg Kent and Huffy. A good mix of styles and sizes.
Delivering the bikes
Wednesday, Brad Budgen and I hired a truck, to take the bikes to Port Augusta. Deputy Principal Phil Oliver met us, and took delivery. We gave the school a letter, stating that the bikes had been checked; and were in our opinion, OK to ride. Then back to Adelaide the same evening.
We hope the bikes will be useful for Ben and for Augusta Park School. Ben promised to let us know how they go & send photos. If /when news arrives, I’ll pass it on.
The bikes represent $2,000 in value donated to the school. That's based on second-hand price of similar bikes, people’s time to check and repair and test, plus delivery costs ie truck hire. Actual cost to us: $210 for repairs plus $440 truck: $650 total; a little under $20 per bike supplied and delivered.
Maybe more schools might offer cycling lessons, using recycled bikes?
If they can use recycled bikes - it's very feasible. Currently, if a school wants to offer cycling, it has to buy the bikes new: maybe $2000 minimum. The Bicycle Workshop supplied them for a fraction of that cost. At the same time, we had a bit of fun, people learned about bike repair, and a lot of unwanted bikes, got recycled and put back into use.
Good to see the Community Bicycle Workshop, completing another project! my thanks to all who helped .
Volunteers at the Bike Workshop, who give up Saturday mornings, to check and fix bikes . Harry and Cassie also helped with repairs, and road tested the bikes. Special mention to Ashley (above); and the students at Wiltja Residential College (above). Brad shared the truck driving. Thanks too, to all who donated the bikes, too numerous to mention…
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