Bike U joins forces with Cade to equip children with mechanical skills and a new bike
Press release from the Musée de la Cade
Everyone has heard the old adage: “You never forget how to ride a bike. Thanks to Cade’s new partnership with Bike University (Bike U), children will grow up also remembering how to repair a bicycle.
Bike U sets up in the Cade garage to run bike repair courses. Eligible students enrolled in the cycling program also receive a free membership in the Cade Museum community so that they can visit the museum at any time and at no cost.
“Our goal is to teach a new generation of cycle mechanics,” said Bike U co-founder Gary Sinkus.
For 15 years, Sinkus and his Bike U partner, Steve Shrum, have volunteered almost every Sunday afternoon, repairing bikes in several areas of Gainesville. About five years ago, a revolutionary idea emerged: teaching children to be bicycle mechanics.
“We started by finding interested kids one neighborhood at a time,” Sinkus said. “We took them to the Freewheel Project, where they picked from a large collection of used bikes and donated in poor condition to take apart, clean, lubricate, reassemble and keep for themselves.”
Bike U started out in underserved communities where Sinkus and Shrum worked with children who showed an aptitude for understanding bicycle mechanics. By training children to be ‘the neighborhood mechanics’, Bike U still conveys the importance of helping neighbors with projects and supporting the community as a whole, but it is now open to anyone who wishes to participate unconditionally. of income.
The program emphasizes expertise and non-intimidating hands-on instruction. Instructors work one-on-one with students during the 6-8 week course. By the time they complete it, students are equipped to build a bicycle from scratch. At the end of each session, Bike U serves lunch to the class.
Previously taught at the Bike Co-op Main Street location, the Freewheel Project – which closed – Bike U now meets in Cade’s garage across from Depot Park
Kids who can’t tell the difference between a wrench and a screwdriver don’t have to hesitate: Bike U doesn’t require any mechanical skills, and all that is needed is the willingness to learn and the dedication to get involved. in six weeks of class, says Sinkus.
Upon graduation, students bring home their bicycle, lock, complete tool kit, pump, and diploma.
“To this day we have taught students between the ages of 10 and 25, and now we find some of our graduates working in bike shops around town,” Sinkus said proudly, adding that all of the instructors in the Bike University are volunteers and come to the program. with “great amounts of patience and cycling knowledge”.
The Greenhouse Church, Bike U’s main sponsor, provides donations of bikes, tools, time and money, which Sinkus says “are gratefully accepted.” Thanks to the sponsorship of the Cade, participating children receive a free family membership to the Cade Museum.
Currently, the program is open to young people aged 10 to 16; however, older teens and adults can find out and be considered on a case-by-case basis. No child under 10 is allowed.
The course fee is $ 200 per person; full scholarships are available on request. Although Bike University is currently in session until July 10, Saturdays from 8:30 am. at 12:30 p.m., lessons take place all year round.
Get updates on Bike U at facebook.com/bicycleuniversity. To donate a bike, participate or volunteer for Bike U, call Sinkus at 352-258-3353.
Monetary donations can be made to Greenhouse Church. Mark the donation for Bicycle University.