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Introduction to the Bike-A-Demics GUIDEBOOK

Martin Kimeldorf
Martin Kimeldorf

An instructor's guide for bike education


Bike-A-Demics has been written for educators manual designed for teachers, counselors, youth advocates, bike clubs, retirement communities, summer camp coordinators, or just about anyone wanting to incorporate bike education into their program. It contains practical tips for managing a group of learners. Methods for setting up bike- and-learning teams as well as independent study contracts are covered. Ready- made hand outs are included with quizzes for bike trivia, safety, parts identification, and a checklist of competencies. To ease the instructor's mind about liability for repairs and bike rides, sample permission forms are included. Bike-A-Demics illustrates how to integrate the subject of biking into other disciplines such as science, English, history, health, and special education. As a 90s book it even includes sample bike poetry and a list of resources available online as well as in print or video format. This follows the guiding principle behind writing books for the public on bike care and education:

life long learning = life long biking


Bike-A-Demics

(Bike-A-Demics is cross referenced to the companion bike care and repair book, Bike Notebook)
The printed version of the book is 97 pages and includes forms and lesson samples.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Preface
    Introduction
  • The Scholastic Roots of Bike-A-Demics
  • Motivating and Counseling with Bikes
    Preparing to Teach Bike-A-Demics
  • Visualizing Bike-A-Demics in a Classroom
    Integrating Bike Work with Other Subjects
  • Teaching with Teams and Journals
    Curriculum Materials for Bike-A-Demics
  • Course Outline and Competencies for a Basic Bike Safety and Care Program
  • Bike Curriculum Certificates
  • Sample Bike-A-Demics Learning Contract
  • Tips for Organized Group Rides
  • A Beginning Budget
  • Starting Your Own Collection of Bikes
    Instructional Hand-outs
  • Warm-up Bike Quiz
  • Annotated Answer Key--warm-up Bike Quiz
  • Bike Anatomy Quiz
  • Answer Key--bike Anatomy Quiz
  • Safety Strategy Quiz
  • Creating a Display
  • Sample Bike Poetry
  • Arron's Bike Portfolio Sample
  • Sample Gear Development Analysis
    Sample Forms and Liability Issues
  • Permission to Join Bike Club and Work on Bikes
  • Permission Form and Contract for Bike Rides
    Resources
    Epilogue-story: Biking Through Ages and Stages



PREFACE

You are holding the companion piece to Bike Notebook. The Bike-A-Demics Guidebook has been designed for instructors, group leaders, or families. I originally wrote this guide for teachers who wanted to incorporate bike safety, riding, and repair into a club or class. While I originally conceived Bike-A-Demics as a tool for teachers, I was soon advised that there were other groups and situations where this concept might apply. Perhaps, that is because bicycling is something everyone has in common regardless of age, condition or background. When people ride together or work together on bikes, they develop closer relationships. They forget about their problems and focus on the problem of a flat tire or a squeaky chain. As a result, I now believe that people and programs far beyond the schoolhouse will find Bike-A-Demics of interest. Other interested parties could include activity coordinators in retirement communities, rehabilitation counselors, neighborhood associations, environmental groups, refugee centers, boy or girl scouts...and on...and on.

You may begin your class planning as I did--full of doubt about your mechanical aptitude. You may not have picked up a wrench in a long time--if at all. The good news is that most experienced bike-people love to share techniques and tales. Therefore, my best advice is to develop a relationship with a reliable, local bike enthusiast or mechanic (or even join a bike club). You will find that it is easy to create a self-apprenticeship like mine.

Finally, you hold the one tool that many previous leaders and instructors lacked: a ready-to-go guide. Bike-A-Demics includes teaching tips, curriculum or training outlines, sample permission forms, and even a few worksheets you can duplicate and use as is.

Get a group together and share the ride!




INTRODUCTION

In the summer of 1997, I caved in to long slumbering memories and impulsively bought a brand new 21-speed bike. Then I bought a whole lot of other stuff like tools, clothing, helmet, rack, cyclometer, and a bike stand. I lined my study with bike books and magazines. It was a weird summer, an El-Nino summer, which ushered in a drier, warmer year…good riding weather!

It was the best of times for me because I met up with bike guru, Bill Stevenson, whose expertise and willingness to answer all my questions provided me with unlimited learning opportunities. As the school year started, I crossed bike-lanes with two more riders: Paul Borreson and Dave Seiberlich. Paul is a bicycle-enthusiast and school psychologist. He has built bike repair into his counseling duties. Paul offered encouragement for taking bike repair into the classroom. That same year, I also teamed up with Dave to craft a new hands-on alternative school program. All of these experiences reinforced my long-held belief that learning by doing is the best learning of all.

In the hectic return to school, I had forgotten about a program I had started 25 years earlier. During my teacher training days at Oregon State University, I was employed by a campus YWCA/YMCA to work with "adjudicated youth." We formed an after school program using mini-bikes as our "learning-tool". The program’s acronym was NYPUM. It wasn’t until I was reminiscing with my brother, that I realized how long ago I had use two-wheel machines as a classroom-motivator.

Now, as I look back, I can see how my twisted journey of teaching, working, and writing has lead to the creation of The Bike Notebook and Bike-A-Demics. The psychologist, Carl Jung, would have looked over this moment of coincidences and labeled it synchronicity. Jung would suggest that these experiences were not random, but rather belonging to a larger, perhaps cosmic plan or purpose. Einstein summed up in this notion in a short elegant phrase: "God does not play with dice." Joyfully, I side with these people and agree that the universe is not random. We belong to a larger thread, where the seemingly disparate strands reinforce one another, where the spokes lead into a common hub.




Evolution of my bike notebook

My original short-term goal in 1997 was simple. Since there were no formal bike classes in Olympia that I knew about, I looked for a bike-repair mentor. I discovered one at the Bike Stand in Olympia, Washington. Each Tuesday evening, Bill Stevenson conducted free demonstrations about brakes, bearings, cables, gears, wheels and so forth. In the spirit of play, I affectionately dubbed Bill Stevenson's bike seminars as the BSBS.

He peppered the show-and-tell with bike history, tales and humor. Since there was so much to remember, I showed up with a notebook to keep track of the welter of detail. I simply wanted to create a checklist to keep track of all of the do's and don't's for basic maintenance. I found that if I added drawings, I could cut down on the amount of note taking. Back home, I would consult bike repair books to see if I had correctly understood the demonstration. (During the course of the year, I read over 4000 pages about bike safety, history, repair, and literature.)

One weekend, I got up the courage to head for the bike shop to practice what Bill had preached during the Tuesday evening seminars. I broke through the notebook to a world of grease, nuts, and ball bearings. To extend my hands-on- knowledge, I invited students in my class to come in on Saturdays to work on donated (inexpensive) bicycles I had begun accumulating in my classroom. When I ran into problems or curiosities, I interviewed local mechanics, bike club educators, and racers.

Blending theory with praxis has always been a powerful learning combination in my life. Out of these experiences I built a personal bike care notebook. Over the year, I stuffed a binder with checklists, drawings, and notes. And this journey ended as a manuscript entitled Bike Notebook.




Bike-A-Demics is born

Soon other students wanted to work on bikes and I became motivated to put the Bike Notebook in a finished format. The students took out highlighters as they tore into the material. (And, these were kids who usually complain about "book work!")

As luck would have it, setting up the new alternative education program meant we could access a small grant for developing innovative or new curriculum. We decided to use some of our money to develop a classroom-based bike education program. Later, we had to develop permission forms, curriculum lists, budgets, and lesson plans. We purchased bike tools, books, supplies and solvents.

As I began planning how to use The Bike Notebook in my classroom, a second song of inspiration played out in my head. I decided to keep track of the instructional materials and lessons. Bike-A-Demics summarizes these experiences. I later realized that there might be a larger audience for this work. As the manuscript circulated through various hands, the audience potential grew to include youth workers, geriatric activity coordinators, bike club education coordinators, scout leaders, recreation coordinators, even community recreation departments.

Bike-A-Demics helps to illustrate how we can integrate academic and vocational preparation. Bike-students practice using communications, research, writing and social skills as they study and experiment with bike technology. Bike-A-Demics also contributes to the important integration of work and play. In other words, some of the students may walk away with job-ready work habits and technical skills, while other students may take with them a life-long leisure and wellness skill-set. This is a powerful antidote for a culture plagued at times by either too much unemployment or workaholism.




A special message for the digital society

Bike-A-Demics has a special message for people working, living and learning in today's wired society. This is best illustrated by examining the impact of computer technology on schools. In the late 1970s, computer technology entered the classroom and eventually overwhelmed budgets and educational reform movements in the 1980s. The new buzz word was "computer literacy" and, in my opinion, this movement has had a negative impact on the word technology. By the end of the 1980s, we had somehow forgotten that technology education originally referred to hands-on learning based on tool using and making, and not simply keyboarding and software mastery.

I was sensitive to this shift, because in 1973 I entered a teacher preparation program called Industrial Education (formerly Industrial Arts). In the 1970s, it was re-named Technology Education. By 1978 I felt I had to leave vocational education. It seemed as if our discipline was no longer in touch with current labor market realities.

For some time, I (and a minority of sociologists) had fretted over what we called the de-skirling of the workplace. We saw how computer controlled machines replaced skilled machinists with semi-skilled machine operators. In the office building, the secretary's job was re-assembled and they formed keyboard assembly-lines. In the service sector, employers began using automation along with lower- skilled, lower-paid paraprofessionals to supplant the labor of more highly skilled personnel in the health and education fields. It's hard to imagine today, that there was a time when nursing jobs were always available, even during a recession. As the workplace was de-skilled, some of us became concerned about a perceived decline in tool or technical literacy. On top of this, computer advocates argued that computer literacy was the end-all and be-all of technical literacy. In 1979 I felt I could never go back to "technology education" and thereafter entered Special Education.

Now, in 1998 I see how bike technology can help us re-establish a better balance in technology education. Working with bikes is "earthy" and real. While basic bike care remains dependent on basic hand tools, there is a tandem development which leads to high-tech bike hardware. For instance, in 1998 major bike makers introduced some of the first mass produced bikes incorporating fiber-carbon frames, disc brakes, and computer-controlled suspension. And today, no one buys just a light or speedometer-one buys a digital, recharging unit and a computer. While a small group experiments with new gadgetry and space age materials, the millions and millions of bike owners world wide still ride and work on a bike design that has not essentially changed in 100 years. As a result, it is an everymans' and everywomans' machine, maintained with a few simple tools.

For the most part, bikes remain an egalitarian vehicle for transportation and recreation. We know that much of the world's population can afford a bike, but only a small percentage can make car payments. Perhaps most importantly to citizens of the information age, riding gets people (like myself) away from their keyboard and out into the fresh air. And as a result, bike technology is the perfect counter-weight for the computerized workplace, home, and school.




Not just for the public school

Remember Bike-A-Demics is not limited to adolescents in a classroom. You can also use the concepts with other groups which form around common interests. An initial listing could include scouts, service clubs, summer camps, youth groups (Big Brothers/Big Sisters, YMCA's/YWCA's), support groups, neighborhood associations. And what about those organizations serving people at the other end of the age spectrum? Activities coordinators in geriatric centers, recreation therapists in special programs, or leisure coordinators in retirement communities might wish to set up small classes on bike riding, safety, and repair. Likewise, organizing bike rides will help people discover the gospel of health and wellness while cycling down a pleasant country road or local park pathway. And don't forget the sub-culture I belong to: middle-aged adults. When I was 50, I climbed back aboard a bike after a 25 year absence. After some modest dietary changes and riding only 20 miles per week I achieved my lowest blood pressure rating in years after only riding for six months!

UP

 
  Martin Kimeldorf,  
author
kimeldorf@amby.com
© 1998-1999
All Rights Reserved.
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webmaster@amby.com
Printing or downloading a single copy of this document for personal use is permitted; transmission in any form or further duplication is prohibited without the express written consent of the author. In addition, any use of the document code, itself, requires the written permission of the web page designer.


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