What we learned in our Winter Bike Club pilot program

By Kim Whitney, Youth Programs Manager

“I fixed and destroyed things, and those don’t go together often” – Alex

“I learned how to fix a bike and a flat tire, and more.” – Dillon

This year we facilitated our first ever Winter Bike Club. This pilot project, co-taught by Gladys Ruiz and Forrest Scott, along with our amazing volunteer Mike Armstrong, was a 10-week course that focused on basic bike repair. Each day followed the same format – students played outside, participated in a structured lesson, and then had time at the end of the day to record what they learned in journals they made from construction paper and inner tubes.

Over the course of the term, students studied the names of bike parts and tools, dissected bikes to learn how the pieces fit together, and were challenged with “unsafe” bikes that they had to repair to make safe again. These lessons were not easy. They learned skills that many adults do not know, like flat tire repair and brake adjustments. The students did an amazing job working together as a team.

Winter Bike Club was a learning experience for us as well. The instructors and I worked week by week to alter the curriculum to the needs of the 4th and 5th grade audience. Some of what we tried, like “inner tube safety tag”, deflated the group, while the tool and bike part scavenger hunt was a huge hit.

We found that while bike maintenance might be tough at times, learning how bike parts move and work together provides an amazing sense of accomplishment.

This spring, two of the Winter Bike Club graduates will be joining us for our Spring Bike Club at Harvey Scott, where we will enjoy adventures on the road to nearby parks. We hope to continue offering a Winter Bike Club and explore other ways for Bike Club graduates to stay involved.

This term of Winter Bike Club was generously funded Nike Employee Grant Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation. We would also like to thank the students who shared their Thursday afternoons with us. During Spring Break, we will be partnering with the Regence Boys and Girls Club to facilitate a week long Bike Club and starting in April, Spring Bike Clubs will also be offered at James John, King, Faubion, Rigler, and Vernon.

Connect with Us

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