Brainy idea: Pedaling basics of bike repair

Tempe Chief of Police Sylvia Moir was on hand at Gilliland Middle School to deliver a $10,000 check to Claudia Becho’s bicycle repair class. The donation will help expand the Recycle-A-Bicycle program at the school. (Photo by Amy Garza, Tempe Elementary School District)

By Justin Aungst

Recycle a Bicycle: How could the brains behind this idea have picked a catchier moniker for their budding bike repair class? That’s exactly what happened at Gililland Middle School when planners unveiled a class focusing on bicycle maintenance and repair, taught by Claudia Becho.

Using a strategy that gets students out of their seats and using a hands-on approach, the kids found new excitement in learning a skill, surpassing many of the school’s other electives.

With a successful first year in the books, Becho and her bicycle repair class expect to make the 2017-2018 school year even better, thanks to the Tempe Police Department which recently donated $10,000 toward the program.

Chief of Police Sylvia Moir and Tempe police officers even took time to drop by Gililland and deliver the check, illustrating their support for the growing program by interacting with students and complimenting their work.

The money will help expand and improve the Recycle-a-Bicycle program as it enters its second year, and will help pay for bicycle parts, tools, equipment and storage.

“It takes more than just the school’s effort to keep our bicycle program running,” said Gililland Principal Jolyn Gibbons. “Donations like this—in addition to the time, bicycles and parts that have been given to us by Tempe police, businesses and individual members of the community—are so important.”

On the surface, Gililland’s bicycle repair class teaches students the basic skills of repairing and maintaining bicycles, but as Chief Moir pointed out, it’s much more than that.

Claudia Becho, left, with Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir, Officer M. Torres and Vice Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage. (Photo by Amy Garza, Tempe Elementary School District)

“Most of the students that come through this program are not going to work in a bicycle shop,” said Moir, adding however:

“But this class builds (the students’) self esteem and confidence as they watch a broken down bicycle go from in-rideable to good-as-new, and they realize that they’re the ones who did that. That’s what is so valuable about this class.”

Old bicycles, working or not, or unneeded bicycle parts can be donated by contacting Claudia Becho,


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