6.30.2005

Shop Class: Bicycle Shop Class

in high school I never took shop classes
yes I took art classes.. but I never took any of the Industrial Arts Classes or Shop Classes
sure... I should have taken shop
there are lots of classes I should have taken and did not
it was less the stigma than the guidance of my father
as my father had some sort of idea of what and what should not be studied
I adhered to his guidelines
looking back I should have ignored him and spend more time in the Industrial Arts building
there was Wood Shop and there was Auto Mechanics
but there was also B&W Photo, Print Making, and other specialized art classes
all of which would have been far more interesting and far more appealing to me than another elective that I slept through

I feel that just as high school has a mandatory Sex Education Class
there should also be a mandatory Bicycle Class.... yes.... MANDATORY!
there would be a short 2 week Mandatory Class... and then a full semester class for those who wanted to learn more
the basic class would cover the most simple mechanics... air in the tires.... lube on the chain.... and fixing a flat
so much can be learned from the basic concepts of fixing a bicycle
there is basic logic
stuff many people take for granted
stuff that many people just do not get
kids would learn that there is a right tool for the job
that a pipe wrench has no business being anywhere near a bike
that a 15mm wrench fits snuggly on a 15mm nut
sounds obvious
but these are things that are going unlearned
these are things that everyone should know

In the semester long class students would take things to the next level
there would be a complete disassembly and rebuild of the bicycle
the class could operate its own little bicycle store
kids would learn to work on bikes which could change people's lives
if nothing else... a flat tire would not leave them stranded

most of all....
this class would introduce people to the world of the bicycle
it shocks me how few people use the bicycle for everyday stuff
why would someone take a bus when they can ride a bike....
certainly the bike is faster for anything for 7-10miles and less
certainly the bike is less expensive than paying for the bus over time
sure there is an initial investment
but
there are always used bicycles
which would be perfect for a program like this

from the bicycle class
there would of course be a bicycle club
maybe several bicycle clubs.... there would be racers and riders...
there would be organized rides and tours
there would be the mechanics that like to design stuff and trick stuff out....

why does this not already exist?

oh... yea
we live in a car culture
not a bicycle culture
when a kids gets a driver's license he or she hangs up her bike and never rides again

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