Interest in building space inspires creation of bike shop

Jan Bloch, Staff Writer

Max Barrett arrives at the high school on his bike as he does most mornings.

As students pull up to school on their bicycles in the morning, some have broken brakes, rusty chains or flat tires. Students have no-where to repair them except a bike store an inconvenient three miles away.
Teachers and students throughout the high school are attempting to open a workspace for kids to repair, rent and buy bikes. This will provide students with the opportunity to apply knowledge that they have learned in school into real life situations, while supporting a cheap, eco-friendly form of transportation.
Elon Fischer, an English teacher who plays a big role in this process, is hoping to see students apply knowledge from school into this makerspace.
“We’re using some of the space in the Unified Arts Building,” said Fischer. “Students can come, use the space, problem solve, build things and apply what their learning in math or science.”
Although this bike workspace hasn’t opened up yet, it’s definitely in the process. The Brookline Community Foundation has given the school a grant of $850 to buy all the tools necessary to repair bikes.
Elijah Evans, an Alternative Choices in Education (ACE) social studies teacher, has been working with Bikes Not Bombs since his freshmen year of high school. Bikes Not Bombs is a store in Jamaica Plain where the mission is to create useful and fast ways to get around that are available to anyone.
According to Evans, fewer people used bikes as a way of transportation attended the high school.
“No one biked back then, it wasn’t really the cool thing to do, certainly not in my neighborhood,” said Evans. “So I’ve really seen how cycling culture has sort of injected itself in Boston.”
Due to his previous experience with bikes, Evans has been able to come up with many ideas for the high school.
“The idea is to hopefully have a student run bike shop,” said Evans. “It’s not going to be a business when it starts up, but hopefully with enough interest and work that’s what we can work ourselves up to.”
The main goal of this project is to get students involved. There already is a School Within School committee called the Bike Committee, run by senior Max Barrett. Barrett repairs and sells bikes from his garage to students in need of a way of transportation.
“I’m the guy in charge of the S.W.S. Bike Committee which is where we ride around and repair bikes.” said Max Barrett. “We’ve recently become involved with Fischer’s project.”
Evans’ motivation behind the idea of a makerspace for students is exemplary for all learning children. Not only would this area allow students to grow in their mechanical ability, but also the opportunity to give back to the community.
“I love the simplicity of a bicycle and all of the different things that can come with it,” Evans said.“So that’s what’s motivating me, social justice, access, transportation justice and just trying to support people who don’t have alternative options.”