Assignment: Education - Bike Works

Logan Middle School After School Program

Published On: Jun 06 2012 01:58:53 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 06 2012 01:58:53 PM CDT

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Sawing isn't a sound you'd typically hear coming from a locker room, but you also wouldn't expect to see bikes.

"The shower area is actually a place where we put the bikes that are most likely to get fixed-up and put back on the road, said Matthew Christen. "The toilet area is for our vintage bikes."

This previously unused space is now home to the Logan Middle School Bike Works after school program run by retired Logan Middle School teacher Matthew Christen.

"I'm an avid cyclist and advocate around," said Christen. "So, I was trying to find a way for the students to get a little bit more involved in biking to school or using a bicycle more often."

So last Spring, Mr. Christen started Bike Works and turned this unused locker room into a bike shop.

"We have the room divided up so all the lockers are being used to help separate and help organize the parts," said Christen.

Parts which are needed to help repair the students' bikes.

"When I was on recess duty I used to count how many bikes would be in the racks each day, and what I noticed, also, was the bikes were in such poor shape," said Christen.

So, as part of the after school program, students learn bicycle maintenance, road safety and can even earn a refurbished bike.

"The students come in, they work," said Christen.

"I'm working on getting this back tire back onto this bike," said Zack Magnuson, Bike Works member.

"They have to take a pre-test," said Christen. "Then they have to work on a couple of educational pieces."

"Brakes, gears, tires, chains, really anything on the bike, I can fix," said Magnuson.

"They have to be able to independently show an A-B-C quick check," said Christen.

"I already know how to check the tire, make sure there's air in it-- if there's enough. Brakes and chain," said Virginia Rodriquez, Bike Works member.

"They have to be able to label at least 18 out of 20 parts on the bicycle to identify them," said Christen. "And then they have to work in the shop; a little sweat equity."

Once those steps are completed, students can leave the bike shop with a refurbished bike and a new helmet.

"We had some older bikes here in the bike shop. I thought that it'd be cool to have one," said Magnuson. "So, we fixed it up. I was able to bring it home, and I ride it a lot."

Aside from Zack, 16 other students have also been able to bring bikes home this year which is one of the main goals of this program.

"Our ambition is to see as many bikes get turned around and into people's hands," said Christen.

So these students will continue to work in high gear to get more bikes in the bike racks.