Rolling into the new year with bike education

Bike Concord is pedaling into the new year with a new program, “Wrench Time.”

The first in a series of after-school classes went off without a hitch on Dec. 20, with a small group of Olympic High students attending.

Bike Concord is partnering with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District to offer this after-school program weekly on Thursdays for the rest of the school year. The first class covered basic bike anatomy, identifying all parts of the bicycle, proper tire pressure and inflation, how to keep the brakes in good working order and how to care for a bike chain.

Ken Carlock is leading the class. He works in the repair shop at REI in Concord and is a primary instructor there for all bike repair classes.

“One of my favorite hands-on exercises that the students did was an exercise to give them a feel for how much force to use when tightening a bolt,” said Smitty Ardrey, Bike Concord’s Outreach and Community Bike Shop coordinator. “We gave each student a bolt, nut and had them put them in a vice. Then they used a wrench to torque the nut as hard as they could until the bolt broke.”

Ardrey also talked to the students about what kind of biking they like to do. “Some like to BMX, road bike and mountain bike.”

The class will culminate with a field trip and group bike ride to Castle Rock.

The Community Bike Shop is intended to be an educational environment where students and community members can learn how to maintain, fix up bicycles, and build community and leadership at the same time. Bike Concord installed a custom, 32-foot shipping container on the Olympic High campus. The container is fully insulated to hold the equipment and activities of the Community Bike Shop so that community members can be comfortable in the winter chill and summer heat. The space also houses a workbench and multiple bike stands for bike repair.

If you have any bikes that can be serviced, Bike Concord is ready to take donations. Students and community members will earn the bicycles by volunteering with Bike Concord, either fixing them up themselves or volunteering in other capacities of our community work.

We look forward to building out our workshop offerings for the community by offering classes for women and organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, who have expressed interest in partnering with us.

The Community Bike Shop is open on most Friday evenings. Swing by after work with your bike and learn some tune-up skills, or just chat about how to make cycling better in our community.

Roberts is a volunteer with Bike Concord. Email

Maryam Roberts