High School Bike Effort Helps Those in Need

What better way to support health and fitness than to give it back to the community? As the school year comes to an end, Marshall High School engineering students are finishing up a bicycle project that gives refurbished bikes new homes.

The project’s idea surfaced three to four months ago after Tom Hoff and Chad Kulla attended the Minnesota Bicycle Alliance Meeting. Hoff is a steering committee member of Healthy56258 and the City of Marshall GreenStep Coordinator. He teamed up with Kulla, manager at The Bike Shop, to brainstorm ideas to make Marshall a more bicycle-friendly community.

Hoff and Kulla saw an opportunity to work with high school students, teaching them manufacturing and engineering principles through bicycle refurbishing.

“I thought it would be a great way for the students to learn and give back to the community at the same time,” said Hoff.

They brought their idea to the high school principal, who later assigned the project to Alex Cleppe. Cleppe is a math and engineering teacher at Marshall High School.

“I wasn’t sure if I was the right guy for this project,” Cleppe said. “I didn’t have a lot of experience in that area, so I was learning just as much as the students.”

Cleppe has enjoyed watching his students work through problems, such as a skipped gear. “They have really learned and developed some cool skills,” says Cleppe, “for the most part, I think they have enjoyed it!”

bike project

Cleppe is excited to see where the project will go in future years as he develops the experience and skills to help his students learn how to refurbish bikes.

The class hopes to have three bikes refurbished by the end of the school year.

bike project1

Once a bike has been refurbished, and Cleppe is confident in the repairs, it can be provided to a child, who may not otherwise have access to one.  Cleppe has already received emails from middle school teachers requesting bikes for students. Garage sales for kids may also be an option for future refurbished bikes.

Cleppe is thankful for the work done by Hoff and Kulla. “Chad has been awesome in helping with this process, and Tom was also big in the initial start up of it. Those guys deserve a lot credit for getting it started and bringing the idea to us.”

Cleppe plans to integrate the project into his curriculum in the second quarter.

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