In 2019, James Nelson, a teacher at Menlo-Atherton High School and safe routes to school champion started a bike club at the school, M-A on the Move, to teach students bike maintenance.
Mr. Nelson has taught around 500 kids how to do basic bike maintenance, like how to pump up a tire, how to patch tubes, true wheels, how to repack bearings, strip a frame and paint it, run cables and housings and change brake pads. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, students met weekly at the bike shed in the school parking lot.
Since January 2020, they have repaired or maintained around 150 bicycles. A new bike repair station was recently installed on the high school campus.
In addition to teach students how to repair bicycles, the bike club fixes donated bikes to give back to the community. Twenty-five bikes were donated to students last year. The school continues to get bike donations from the community. Mr. Nelson is currently working on six bicycles and has around 10 bikes in storage, waiting to be fixed. Eighteen bikes are ready to be donated.
“We try to focus on getting bikes to students who need them to get to school. In the current distance learning situation, we are giving bikes to kids who need them due to other transportation needs, such as getting to a job, or because their parents do not have the ability to drive them places, or because they do not feel comfortable on mass transit, says Mr. Nelson. I have 18 bikes are ready to go out the door- I need tall people who need bikes! I am taking in more bikes all the time, especially looking for bikes for little kids and smaller people,” he added.
Although Menlo-Atherton High School students are the priority for the bike donation, the bike club also giveaway bikes to the school staff and student family members. “Pretty much anyone who will promise to try to use the bikes that we give them and will try to prioritize bike transit above automotive transit is welcome to get a bike,” added Mr. Nelson.
If you have old bikes to donate to Menlo-Atherton bike club or know a child in need of a bicycle, please contact the Safe Routes to School team