Coastal Academy students
spend two hours every Wednesday morning in the school's shop, Coastal Bike Works, learning how to clean and repair bicycles in a hands-on environment.
Refurbished bicycles are sold to generate revenue for shop supplies, donated to community bicycle centers, or available to the students who repair them.
The idea was inspired by a bike shop that Shannon Belt started at Westbrook High School. Shannon is now a Education and Outreach coordinator at the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, which helped get the HCA bike program up on two wheels and plans to work with students periodically.
"One of our goals is education and working on making the roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians ... giving kids mechanical knowledge to make the bike not a toy (but) a vehicle," Belt said. "It really changes kids' perspective. ... I think that's how we can make a change to make bicycles safer."