On Mondays after school, we are busy teaching new kids how to maintain their bikes and (perhaps more importantly) how to trick them out and make them look much cooler. We are recycling older BMX bikes and fixing them up with the kids. Each session, we take on a new fix-it task and, if there is time remaining, get to work on decorating. Gold stars fill up the chart as kids complete each new maintenance task. Many of them had never even taken a wheel off of a bike, let alone re-packed a hub.
The kids bring lots of energy and new perspective to us and to each other. The first day we partnered up and had to find out three things in common with each other. The kids didn’t know that they could have so much in common, even if they struggled at the beginning, by the end they were cheering about the fact that one pair both liked animals, and another pair’s favorite food was pizza. They didn’t know that you could have things in common with other people you weren’t already friends with.
Our first hands-on-project was learning how to fix-a-flat. As you likely know, this is one of the most common problems for any cyclist. The kids took to the challenge with full enthusiasm. Finding their own holes and even trying to find the holes in other tires across the table. The problem was that they were finding the holes with the tire still on the wheel. We had some instructing to do. After carefully explaining how to remove the tire from the rim, we got down to patching and then reassembling everything. Each and every one of the kids was successful and able to go home to their families proudly saying “I fixed a flat!”