Project Bike Trip out of Santa Cruz, California, was founded in 2008 by Berri Michel when she noticed a lack of trained and qualified bike mechanics. The program helps teach kids about the mechanics of bikes, as well as the health and environmental benefits of bicycle transportation.
Santa Cruz Bicycles has been heavily involved in the program since its inception.
I caught up with Santa Cruz Bicycles engineer Joe Graney at PlanetPTC Live in Orlando, Florida, to talk about Project Bike Trip.
The Project Bike Trip Tech program, which Graney is involved with, is a one-year technical class which teaches high school students the mechanical fundamentals of bicycle assembly and repair. The aim of Bike Tech is to gives students the skills to work as mechanics in the cycling industry, with the long-term goal of getting them into careers such as engineering, fabrication and graphic art.
Graney started out with Project Bike Trip offering tours of the Santa Cruz bike factory, but as the program expanded and classes became unwieldy, he began to go out to schools and teach classes.
Graney, who grew up in a machine shop, would sometimes skip school to go work on projects in the shop. While he was good at math and science, he says he never made a connection between what he was learning in school and the real world. With Project Bike Trip he hopes he can help kids connect classroom algebra to real-world mechanics and engineering.