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April 23, 2012

Somerville Pilots a Successful Bike Clinic!

In April we hosted our first Bike Clinic, a week-long course that brought together an amazing group of community-minded volunteers, mentors, and students. Each student, working with a professional bike mechanic, repaired several bikes donated by the community -- one of which they kept as their own. The surplus bikes will be sold to raise funds to purchase CYCLE Kids workbooks for the next class of new riders.

We were thrilled to create this community-driven model that integrates service, learning, and altruism, and its absolute success has further inspired us. This model keeps the mission of CYCLE Kids fresh and enduring as our kids grow; after learning to ride with us, our graduates aspire towards service and maintaining community for the next class of CYCLE Kids.

Those ideals came full-circle just during the week of the Clinic! Because he was the only person able to watch her, one participant brought his little sister so he wouldn’t have to miss any days. Marianne Manfra, the police officer teaching the CYCLE Kids program in the safety and riding skills, recovered from her surprise quickly and got the girl busy polishing spokes. Sure enough, a mechanic found a small pink bike that would fit her, and got it running. When recalling teaching Ianna to ride that afternoon, Marianne says, “she was smiling ear to ear.”

We’d especially love to thank our generous bike mechanics from Belmont Wheelworks and Seven Cycles, who were certainly the nucleus of the experiment; they taught comprehensive skills including patching and replacing tubes, assessing the quality of the tire and trueness of the wheel, checking and replacing the cables and gearing, chain maintenance, and working on the handlebars, seats, and pedals. We could not have done this without your generous help and patient teaching!

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