This is the bike that jamel built
but he's building so much more than just a bike
We all have memories of riding a bike as a kid. For some, it’s the memory of first riding with no hands. Or learning to pop a wheel-y. Or maybe going on family bike rides. The joy you experience riding a bike as a kid is like no other. We see that joy every day at Bearings Bike Shop. But we hope kids experience even more through our program.
Take Jamel. Jamel is 13 years old and rides his bike ALL. THE. TIME. He recently saved up 30 stars (representing 30 hours of work at the shop) to get a really nice Trek. He ordered a handlebar iPhone holder so he could keep his phone safe while riding. He often swings by Tim and Becky’s house to see if Mr. Tim wants to go for a ride. He loves his bike.
In fact, he has really just fallen in love with bikes in general. He has shown a greater interest in learning how bikes work and often helps coach younger kids at the Starting Point station, more than once helping a kid build their first bike. He sometimes asks for special projects at the shop.
Recently, Jamel saw a bike come in from a donor and asked if he could fix it up. He had an idea to convert the mountain bike from a multi-speed bike to a single-speed BMX-style bike. Tim has been telling Jamel about these larger BMX style bikes, but they’re expensive. Jamel thought he could build his own. In Jamel’s opinion, this would be a bike other kids would want to buy.
Jamel has started the project of converting this bike to a single speed and getting it ready for sale in the shop. His enthusiasm is contagious! He’s selecting the tires and accessories himself, and doing the work of the conversion with the coaching of Mr. Mike, our shop mechanic.
Jamel's Mom, Jalisha, says that Jamel has always been curious and that he loves to work on stuff. But, she says, "it’s (the program) that taught him how to do some things for himself and not just rely on me.”
Jamel is exemplifying what we hope for kids as they move into Level 2 in our Skills for Life Program. He works independently keeping his bike in working order. He’s showing growth in saving and spending wisely. He is able to coach and lead other students. He’s able to take what he’s learned and put them to use in unique ways. Finally, he’s showing a stronger belief in his own potential, something that translates across all areas of life and will be a strong characteristic to propel him into the future.