Interview with John Guerrero, Bike Mechanics STEM Student

John Guerrera and his cruiserJohn Guerrero is a student in Bike Mechanics STEM Class at Helensview High School. Students earn 4 credits in one semester of the class, which is taught by Helensview’s physics teacher, Dammes, and the Community Cycling Center’s Andrea Chiotti.

After a Friday morning lesson about friction followed by a lesson in overhauling bike hubs, John graciously took the time to answer a few questions.

Why are you in the class?
It’s a new experience, something I wanted to try. I started the class with goals about what I wanted to build–two cruisers and a racing bike. I’m currently working on a third cruiser to donate back to the school. I want my next cruiser after that to be for myself.

John and Dammes working on a hub overhaul.What have you learned in the class so far?
I’ve learned how to fix a hole in a tube, to unscrew bolts from the wheel, lube the chain, and clean a bike. I haven’t learned the name of the bike parts, but I know how to use them. I’m more of a hands-on learner. In wood shop, I learned how to build a cabinet and shelf. I’d like to learn the engineering of a clock.

Before this class, I’d just find a bike abandoned on the side of the road, take it home, and fix it up. My neighbor gets bikes, fixes them up, and donates them. In this class, I’ve learned to work with tools I didn’t know how to use.

This is my favorite elective. It’s definitely something I’ve opened up to. I was never into bikes before, just rode them. I use bikes more in my life than walking as a hobby. It feels good to ride a bike I’ve worked on downhill on Flavel. This class gets me motivated to come to school and to be on time. It helps me get through the day.

What will you remember from this class?
I’ll remember how to fix a bike and how to tell what’s not working well. I’ve learned how to powdercoat, and I’ll remember that.

What do you wish for your future?
I want to be a lot of things. I want to be a mechanical engineer and to create my own company, my own brand. I feel I can manage a lot in school. I want to earn as many scholarships as I can so that I can study engineering at the University of Berkeley. When I was in middle school, we took a field trip to Berkeley. They told us that, if you are the first child in your family to go to college, you could get a scholarship.

I’ll be the first in my family to get a high school diploma. I have a lot of big goals.

Special thanks to the Oregon Community Foundation, Lam Research, DK Whitaker Engineering, and Intel Corporation for supporting our STEM Bicycle Mechanics Program.

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Hours: 10am-6pm daily (fall/winter)Bike Shop Address: 1700 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Phone: 503.287.8786Office/Mailing Address: 1805 NE 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97212