Each term the high school students undertake a class taught by a crew member for 2 hours on a Friday afternoon. This last term I taught bike maintenance to 4 of the boys - Eli, Malachi, Rick and Jack.
Madagascar is a great place for cycling and many crew have bikes but very few know how to maintain them. The aim was to give the boys the knowledge, skills and experience to "have a go" at both maintaining and fixing both their own bikes but also those of other crew members.
We had 6 bikes in poor condition to practice on - 3 x 20 inch bikes with back pedal brakes and 3 x geared bikes - 1 x 24 inch and 2 x 26 inch. Over seven weeks we studied tyres, tubes, valves, puncture repairs, wheel truing, spoke replacement, chain replacement, pedal replacement, repacking wheel bearings, bottom bracket overhaul, headset overhaul, gear and brake cable replacement and gear adjustment.
We also blessed some crew members by fixing their bikes for free.
By week 5 we had all 6 bikes completely stripped and I had the frames and forks repainted by a local Malagasy man - Chong - for 15,000 Ariary each - about $6. And then in the last class we set about re-assembling the bikes. We finished the 3 simpler ones in class and Jack helped me finish the three geared bikes off after class.
Finally we had a graduation and certificate presentation last week. It was a real pleasure to share my passion for tinkering with bikes with these young men and to see their skills and confidence increase.
|Jack's bike before - nothing worked|
|Future short term crew loaner bike before - nothing worked|
|Stripping down bikes in the warehouse|
|Eli stripping down his bike|
|Eli's bike in bits|
|Malachi's bike in bits|
|Jack's bike in bits|
|Rick's bike in bits|
|Eli on his rebuilt bike|
|The bike that Eli built|
|The bike that Malachi built|
|The bike that Jack built|
|The bike that Rick built|
|New bike for Mark, built by the group|
|New short term crew loaner bike - built by the group|
|Six finished bikes|
|Graduation and certificates|