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Rewards Can Arrive on Two Wheels

LaTour and a Student Finish Up a Bike

LaTour and a Student Finish Up a Bike

Several youngsters were seen riding bikes along South Main Street in Lamar a few days ago. They probably had smiles on their faces.  They were riding brand new bikes that they had just put together for themselves earlier that afternoon.

Hall Offers a Helping Hand

Hall Offers a Helping Hand

“These are Debrosa bikes, valued at around $450 each for the BMX type and they were sold, wholesale, by Quality Bike Products out of Denver to Healthy Places and LiveWell in Lamar for a lot less than retail,” explained Byron Hall. Hall heads the probation department for the 15th Judicial District in Prowers County and devotes a lot of his time working with the students from Project HOPE.  He can be found either at the headquarters at the Lincoln Elementary School or at the bike shop at the corner of Main and Olive Streets in Lamar.  That’s where the bikes were being assembled out of the box on Friday, July 15th.  Anthony LaTour, who is also an instructor with the program, was assisting with creating a bike from the parts and instructions with younger kids, while two other older students were in the next room working on their bikes without the assembly booklet.  “We just know how to do this from putting together so many others,” they explained.  The students have been working on bikes for about a month and a half with the first portion devoted to taking apart and putting old, donated bikes together again to learn the basics of bike construction and care and use of tools.

The office, formerly used by PCDI, was converted into a combination of offices and bike repair place and cooking school several months ago. There’s a lot of versatility that comes with educating youngsters.  It’s an assembly point for kids involved with all kinds of projects and the location helps put them in the center of life around town.

LaTour explained that the students have been working on some broken or abandoned bikes, taking them apart nut by bold and reassembling them to get an idea of how they work.   “The idea for this was to give the kids some hands-on experience with working with tools and learning repairs along with some life skills,” he explained, adding that there are cooking classes  sponsored by Healthy Places that show students some alternatives to junk food and that they can put together a healthy meal that still tastes good.  “Some of the kids needed some credits to complete their summer school, and are getting both from the bike shop and cooking classes,” he said.  “They got to the point where some people were coming in from the community and asking to have their bikes repaired.  There really isn’t any place like that in town, even though there are a lot of bike riders,” LaTour explained, adding, “There have been days where it’s been standing room only because of the number of students taking part in the training.”

The students will be with the Lamar Police Department on July 22nd to learn about bike riding safety, as well as how best to secure a new bike from being stolen. At $450 a shot, and every kid that participated in the program got their own bike, you don’t want to see them ripped off.  LaTour said the classes may evolve into a volunteer based bike repair clinic.  “Everybody got a bike…except the instructors,” he joked.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarEducationFeaturedHealthSchoolSportsTransportationYouth

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