NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's one thing to hear about how something works, it's another to do it yourself with your own hands. That's the lesson a few Antioch Middle School students will be learning, among others, over the next seven weeks.
Once a week, until the end of the school year, almost a dozen seventh graders are taking used, donated bicycles and giving them new life. "Rebuild it piece by piece, starting with the wheels, the brakes, the drive train," said Dan Furbish, Director of the Oasis Center Bike Workshop.
Along the way, Furbish shows students how each part of the bicycle works. "Do you see that lever right there? Pull that out," he instructed one of the students.
Another key focus of the "Build a Bike Workshop" is teaching students how to repair almost anything that happens to a bicycle. On the second week of the program, Furbish walks the children through the process of taking out the tube of a bicycle tire and patch a hole.
Seventh-grader Jeff Houke tells NewsChannel 5, if he knew all of this a few years ago, he might still have his old bike. "A bunch of the stuff on it got broken so we just sold it for parts," said Houke.
Jeff says he loves actually getting to see how the rubber meets the road. "It’s actually funner because we’re actually getting hands-on to do it," he said.
That seems to be the real magic behind the program, especially during a global pandemic.
"The hands-on kind of problem-solving that’s involved in rebuilding these bikes has been a really cool thing for them. Not a lot of opportunities during the school day I think to get up and move around really work with their hands," said Furbish.
The most important lesson will take several weeks to teach -- responsibility. "If they show up each week and put in the work, the bike is theirs to keep. It’s totally free. They get to take it home," explained Furbish. Students will also earn their own new helmet, light and repair kit if they attend every session and work hard.
A lot of the students are already envisioning their last day of class when they get to take their creation for a spin.
"So I can ride it around my neighborhood," said one of the students.