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Picking Bikes and Bike Anatomy

Week 2 day 1: picking bikes + bike anatomy

Objective: Students will learn the parts of the bike so they can check their bikes over after they pick their bikes. Students will agree on a fair system to determine who gets to choose bikes first.

Anatomy lesson

Create sticky labels that have a major part of the bicycle on each label. Use the bike anatomy worksheet as a guide so you know what to put on the labels. Have a mountain bike and a road bike in a stand – preferably as close to the same size as you can find. Split the group into two units. And divide the labels amongst the two groups. Give each group five minutes to beat the clock against each other to work as a team and figure out what label goes to what part of the bike. After each group is done and has stepped away from the bike they were labeling, go over what is correct (be sure to commend them for labeling something correctly, especially if they get something like bottom bracket correct) and what is not correct. You can then correct what is wrong, or have them try again together verbally. Explain to them that this is a “macro” anatomy lesson, and that more “micro” anatomy will be learned with each new lesson (see if they know what macro and micro mean; if not then explain). Also, be sure to mention what the five bearing surfaces are (front and rear hubs, headset, bottom bracket, pedals). This is a fun activity – the youth really enjoy it. Asking them questions about what they just learned really helps them remember – one really big key to learning is repetition. Also, if you want, you can have them fill in the blanks on the anatomy worksheet after the labeling activity is over as a recap.

Picking Bikes

After a good anatomy lesson, the students are much more ready to pick their bikes. There are a couple of things that must be done before students can pick bicycles. First and foremost is we must have a completed permission slip/waiver for the student. Second, the class as a whole must decide on a system by which to pick the bikes. The class should discuss different ways of deciding who goes first – alphabetical order, tallest to shortest, youngest to oldest, or some sort of random (e.g. numbers in a hat) method. Once the method is decided (preferably by the youth – give them five-ten minutes to think up a method they all agree is fair), stick to it. When going into the basement, the instructor must go first and turn on all the lights before the students begin looking for bikes. The students should know these things about the basement and picking bikes:

Basement

Its dark, musty and dusty. The air quality is already not that great, so

  1. pick up feet when walking – no shuffling about if at all possible. Its cluttered and chaotic with big precarious piles of bikes, so
  2. three at a time to pick bikes – the rest of the group waits in the main room until their name/number is called. After a student picks a bike, they are to walk it out to the main room and wait patiently until all other students have picked bikes – no switching! (Unless there is something desperately wrong with the bike that you notice after its in better light).
  3. If they see a bike they like, ask for help before pulling it out. (all bikes need an okay by an instructor anyway in terms of size, state of disrepair, and how many hours its worth). When waiting in the main room, they students need to stay where they are – NO HORSEPLAY and no touching of any of the bikes/piles of bikes that are down there without permission. Ask them to please be patient. The less horseplay, the sooner they will be able to go upstairs and start checking in their bike.

Something to remember

...and to remember to tell the students – all the bikes down in the undercroft need love. A little to a lot. The amount of work needed for a bike to be up to par has nothing to do with the quality of the bike or its parts – some really great bikes need a great deal of work, and some really crappy ones don’t need anything…yet. So let them know that the status of the bikes down there is simply a starting off point.

Bikes

Mountain, Road, Hybrid, & 3-Speed bikes start at 20 hours and go up. Things like alloy rims, suspension systems, and anything particularly awesome will make these bikes more expensive.

BMX bikes start at 25 hours and go up. Things like alloy rims, working Gyro systems, freewheels, and pegs will make a BMX bike more expensive.

Beginner students should not pick a bike that’s worth more that 30 hours as it will be VERY hard for them to earn the bike by the end of the class. However, we should encourage them to pick a bike they really want and to not settle just because one may be easier than another. There are ways to earn a bike that is say 40 or more hours, and be able to take it home at the end of the class. So if a student wants to challenge themselves, we should encourage them to do so.

The instructor must OK any bike that is to be picked. Instructors do not allow students to pick bikes that are too big/small, have frame damage, or will be too much work for a beginner student.

ALL of the bikes need to be fixed, and pretty much any repair can be done.

Missing or damaged parts will be replaced. If the bike has a working part (e.g. a working coaster brake), it will NOT be replaced.


Only after all the students have picked bikes should the group leave the basement. It is easiest to take bikes out through the bulkhead. Once all the bikes are out, the students and the instructor should go back down into the basement, lock the bulkhead, make sure things are as organized (if not more organized-three foot wide isles and no bikes falling over…!) than when they got there, turn off all the lights, and then leave the basement as a group, locking the doors behind them.

Once the group is back into the shop with their bikes, the following things must happen:

Students label their bike with their full name and the date on a sticky label..

Students must find their bike’s # in the Inventory Book and record their name in the “Fate and Date” column. “claimed by _______ on mm/dd/yyyy. 40th street EaB, or Summer Camp ‘05 session 3 etc.

After this is done, organize the class into pairs. Pick one student from each pair to put his/her bike in the stand (remember to explain why drive-side out is shop procedure). Once these bikes are up in the stand, hand out the Repair Check Lists and begin to check the bikes over. As the students go down the list, the instructor/volunteers should ask students to remind them what each part of the bike is/does and help the student assess whether that part needs to be replaced, adjusted, or is ok. After the first 4-5 bikes have been checked over, take them out of the stands and put up the remaining bikes and check the remaining bikes over. (Remind the students that the faster they get through this first round of bikes, the sooner their friends can get their bikes up in the stands, and the sooner they will all be able to begin to fix on bikes – so that this is a team effort.) Hang them up in the big metal “spider” in the back of the shop when the bikes are finished being checked in. Its easiest to arrange bikes by class, so try to get a good full row of hooks free (without messing up the order of another class’s bikes) and line them up.