Logan Middle School teacher Matthew Christen saw too many students riding to school on unfit bikes.
Some had loose chains. Others, not enough air pressure. A few wheels were out of alignment.
So Christen headed efforts to create "Logan Bike Works," an in-school bike repair shop. It opened May 23 in the school's spare locker room.
"With this here, there's no excuse not to have a safe bike," he said.
The shop, funded by a $2,000 Wisconsin Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School grant, will do minor bike repairs for Logan students and supply a bike to students who don't have one, all at no cost.
It will be staffed by Christen and another Logan teacher, along with any students who pass the required tests once school starts in the fall.
You have free articles remaining.
Visitors new to the shop are greeted by a faint smell of sweat and gym equipment. A student-made work bench holds new tools, an air compressor and radio. Pushed back to create more space, the lockers store spare tires, lube and bolts. In the old shower are two donated bikes, one already used for parts.
Twelve-year-old student Richard Dewalt traded in a blue bike he found in the trash for a safer ride with brakes and a new chain. The sixth-grader has been repairing bikes with his friend for four years. He knows the names and purpose of each part, and makes a point to scan garbage bins for tossed bikes to practice on.
"It's not that hard," he said. "You just have to keep trying. I still need to learn the chains. I can't do them yet."
Christen hopes students are drawn to the shop.
"I want it to give them a chance to improve their bikes and learn safety," he said.
"This gets them involved in it instead of just listening about safety."