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More details on Olive Harvey College’s upcoming bike maintenance and repair class

Irv’s Bike Shop in Pilsen, photographed in 2012. The Olive Harvey course will help prepare students for an entry-level job at a bike store. Photo: John Greenfield

Update 2/16/22, 11 AM: This article previously did not include the full scope of the subjects that will be taught during the course. It has been updated with additional info.

Last month reps from the Chicago Department of Transportation and Divvy joined City Colleges of Chicago staff to celebrate the installation of a new Divvy station at Olive-Harvey College in the Pullman community on the Far South Side, and to herald a new City Colleges initiative that covers the cost of an annual Divvy membership for all students.

In addition it was announced that Olive-Harvey College, for the first time, is offering a course called Bicycle Maintenance and Repair. This hands-on class will teach students to refurbish and fix bikes, while developing "soft skills," know-how that would be useful for entering the workforce in a bike sales or mechanic job.

The course dates are April 13  to June 1 on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m., and the fee is $99. The class is open to all residents, not just people currently taking City Colleges courses. Students will work on donated bicycles, and will be provided with a loaner toolkit.

The Olive-Harvey College Center of Excellence in Transportation, Distribution and Logistics offers a variety of programs relevant to the industry, according to Aziza Darwish, director of continuing education at the college. “The Bicycle Maintenance and Mechanic course was designed with our community in mind," she said via email. "Bicycles are a cost-effective and environmentally sound form of transportation. This course will give students an opportunity to learn all about the benefits of having and maintaining a bicycle, while gaining the necessary skills to repair and refurbish bikes for personal use, as well as for possible entry-level employment. Furthermore, the new Divvy station on campus provides another transportation option for our students and community members." The class will be a continuous offering at Olive-Harvey College.

Here are some of the subjects that will be covered during the course.

  • Anatomy of a bicycle
  • “Bicycle physics” – how do the parts of a bike work together to go, turn, and stop?
  • Fixing flats
  • Overhauling and replacing the bottom bracket
  • Removing pedals and cranks
  • Brake installation and maintenance
  • Repairing the headset
  • Maintaining shifters, cables, and derailleurs
  • Overhauling hubs
  • Replacing chains
  • Truing wheels
  • Installing accessories like bar tape, racks, fenders, and lights

The Campus Bike Center at U. of I. in Champaign-Urbana.
The Campus Bike Center at U. of I. in Champaign-Urbana.
The Campus Bike Center at U. of I. in Champaign-Urbana.

One inspiration for the new Olive-Harvey course is a similar class offered at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign at The Campus Bike Center, which is a collaboration between the University of Illinois and The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign. For a small fee, students receive hands-on experiential learning that students can’t get in a classroom.

Click here for more info on the Bicycle Maintenance and Repair Course at Olive-Harvey College.

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