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  1. #1
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    'Bike Tech at School' program offered at five area high schools

    'Bike Tech at School' program offered at five area high schools
    by Kimberly White

    SCOTTS VALLEY -- Scotts Valley High School is the latest in a string of area high schools to offer a course geared toward fostering students' interest in bicycles -- and teaching them lifelong skills along the way.

    Project Bike Trip, a Santa Cruz-based non-profit organization, has partnered with five high schools to offer "Bicycle Tech at School," a program administered through the schools' respective regional occupational programs and operated similar to auto shop.

    Students enrolled in the one-year course learn practical skills about building and fixing bicycles, as well as the health, recreational and environmental benefits that result from alternative transportation, said Katie DeClercq, Project Bike Trip's director. By the end of this school year, she estimates more than 150 kids will have taken the class.

    Students not only learn the skills a bike shop mechanic needs and take quizzes and tests to ensure they've absorbed the information, but also skills that can be used later in higher-level positions within the bicycle or other sports-related industries, she said.

    For example, guest speakers from companies such as Santa Cruz Bicycles and Easton Cycling have given presentations to the classes and explained that they "started out with basic interest and skills in bicycles, and now they're in top positions in companies in the county," DeClercq said. "A lot of people in these local companies started in a bike shop because they love bikes" and worked their way up to top-level positions.

    Steve Hess, who rotates as instructor for Harbor, Aptos and Natural Bridges high schools, considers the program successful even if students only learn how to use tools, change a flat tire or start biking more. But some of his former students have gone full bore, obtaining internships and jobs at businesses including Fox Racing Shox in Watsonville and Santa Cruz-based Ibis Cycles.

    "This year, I'm emphasizing more that the shop is a business, and I'm hiring you as a student employee for my bicycle shop," Hess said.

    Each school also has partnered with an area bike shop that helps obtain bicycle parts for the classes, promotional activities and even hosts fund-raising events. For example, Andrew Cavaletto's worked at Scotts Valley Cycle Sport since his senior year in high school and has owned the business since 2008. When Berri Michel, Project Bike Trip's founder, contacted him about sponsoring Scotts Valley High's Bike Tech at School program, he signed up.

    "I remember being in high school and wanting to know more about bicycles and how they work," he said, adding that it's a "great way to help get kids involved in something other than the standard stuff" like auto shop.

    Bicycle Tech at School launched in January 2007 as a one-semester pilot program at Harbor High and has proved so successful that it's now running through the entire school year.

    "One hundred kids signed up wanting to take the class, and we ended up having to turn down 30-35 students," DeClercq said.

    The students are not only learning a trade, she said, but also other skills that they can use in other fields such as how to work within a company and how to interact with customers.

    Aptos High and Natural Bridges High also offer the course, and it's been so successful at Pajaro Valley High that three course offerings are now being offered each semester thanks in part to a $12,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County. Scotts Valley High recently signed on as a partner as well.

    Project Bike Trip's 2011-12 budget is about $125,000. DeClercq said the group receives funding from various community organizations, local businesses, individuals and the Santa Cruz County Regional Occupational Program.
    this is super cool beyond belief
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  2. #2
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    Sooooooooooooo rad. Way more accessible for most kids than getting a job in a shop in high school like most of us did. There are only so many bike shop positions for young kids and this is a GREAT first step for them.

  3. #3
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    the program's been runnin strong at our high school (PVHS) for a few years now. it's kinda sad how kirk the bike shop teacher here who pioneered the program at harbor high didn't receive any credit in the sentinel. really though, bikes are starting to take off here in south county, more kids are ridin jacked up fixies, and bikes aren't just for day laborers anymore. definitely a class issue, and these kids down here just aren't receiving the same culture capital at home, like their santa cruz counterparts, to understand the values of alternative transportation. to put it bluntly their parents aren't hippy enough.

    we've taken these kids on overnight bike tours, field trips to fox, and day rides. haven't hit any real dirt yet, but that will come. kirk accepts any parts donations if you all have any, road stuff is really big for these kids. we just haven't got enough of them on dirt to really get them hooked.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativeson View Post
    the program's been runnin strong at our high school (PVHS) for a few years now. it's kinda sad how kirk the bike shop teacher here who pioneered the program at harbor high didn't receive any credit in the sentinel. really though, bikes are starting to take off here in south county, more kids are ridin jacked up fixies, and bikes aren't just for day laborers anymore. definitely a class issue, and these kids down here just aren't receiving the same culture capital at home, like their santa cruz counterparts, to understand the values of alternative transportation. to put it bluntly their parents aren't hippy enough.

    we've taken these kids on overnight bike tours, field trips to fox, and day rides. haven't hit any real dirt yet, but that will come. kirk accepts any parts donations if you all have any, road stuff is really big for these kids. we just haven't got enough of them on dirt to really get them hooked.
    I have noticed this too around Watsonville and I think it's pretty cool. Little packs of PVHS kids or WHS kids on fixed gears and singlespeeds or whatever. Before you start the hipster jokes, these kids are the farthest thing from hipsters. Bikes are "cool" and maybe it will be a fleeting thing but I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

  5. #5
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    nice

  6. #6
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    kids are so lucky these days.

    I had to learn everything on my own through trial and error...

  7. #7
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    Katie DeClercq, Project Bike Trip's director, is a veteran of many years of working with the NorCal High School Cycling League in Berkeley. You may have been behind her racing at Boggs, too. And Annadel. And Sea Otter.
    I don't rattle.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loll View Post
    kids are so lucky these days.

    I had to learn everything on my own through trial and error...

    Trial and error is so old school, as are ubiquitous crashes and broken bones. You avoid so much of that with good fundamental training.
    I don't rattle.

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