You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

editorial

Bike repairs: Life lessons with a wrench

Continue reading below

The late 19th century social reformer Frances Willard viewed the mastery of the bicycle as a way to gain the mastery of life. That spirit still resonates today, and teenagers in Boston are spreading it in neighborhoods far from a repair shop. In Chain Reaction, a new initiative of the group Bikes Not Bombs, an after-school mobile repair shop staffed by teens will rotate through Roxbury, Dorchester, South Boston, Charlestown, and Chelsea in coming months. The goal is not just to fix bikes, but also to educate. “The thing that’s shocking to me is how many kids or parents bring bikes in, and they think their bike is broken,” said Stephane Alexandre, a junior at Boston Latin Academy. She first learned to do bike repairs as a ninth-grader in another Bikes Not Bombs program. “So many times, it’s air in the tires or greasing the chain, and we hand the bike back and people say, ‘Oh, that’s it?’ ”

Alexandre’s wrench-wielding colleagues are Abdul Hussein of New Mission High, Corrina Roche-Cross of Brookline High, and Boston Latin’s Evan Hanlon and Will Gifford. Assisting on a busy school-vacation day at the Orchard Gardens Boys and Girls Club was youth instructor Jose Baez of English High, as children and parents streamed in for repairs or to buy low-cost bikes rehabilitated by the teens. The teens conceived of the program after noting the paucity of bike shops in low-income communities. “Nothing makes me happier,” said Alexandre, of Mattapan, “than seeing a kid who thinks his bike is totally dead learn to fix it.”

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.