East Grand gets greasy, hands on

DANFORTH, Maine — Bicycling is growing in popularity at East Grand School thanks to a recent gathering at the school.

Shannon Belt, Jarod Farn-Guillette, and Dylan McBride with the Washington County Council of Governments and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine (BikeME) spent a day at East Grand teaching students of all ages the fundamentals of bike repair and bike handling.  

Students got their hands covered in dirt and grease as they tore bikes apart learning how to re-cable and adjust brakes, change out gears, adjust derailers and much more.

In the afternoon, students got a chance to try out their repaired bike by biking in the brisk 25 degree weather, over the snow covered soccer field and local snowmobile trail.   

“With biking growing in popularity, students will be a valuable part of the equation, as they will be able to work to help maintain the bike fleet,” said Dave Conley, outdoor education instructor at East Grand. “The goal is to invest in a tool box and bike stand to use for bike repair.”

Students will have at least two more days to hone their mechanic skills over the course of the year. By this spring, BikeME will operate a “BikeBus,” a decommissioned school bus turned into a mobile bike repair shop with tons of in-need-of repair bikes, in order to engage youths in hands on education and bicycle safety.

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