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  • Writer's pictureNikki Mantell

‘A wicked cool opportunity’

Philemon-Hadley gym classes enjoying the outdoors thanks to the new bike program. Photo courtesy Lucy Sinclair
Philemon-Hadley gym classes enjoying the outdoors thanks to the new bike program. Photo courtesy Lucy Sinclair

Hadley-Philemon students ride donated bicycles in gym class

By Lucy Sinclair

Did you struggle in gym class? Did you find yourself running endless laps and wishing you could be at home, maybe doing an activity you found more fun like riding a bike?

Personally, I’ve had this experience too many times to count, but, fortunately, the Hadley Junior Philemon Wright High School is ready to put those days behind us!

The high school’s bike program started about three weeks ago with a single Facebook post.

Colin Bunge, a teacher at Philemon Wright, was looking for used bikes for the students to use during gym class. The idea snowballed from there.

Kim and Sean Gilmore of Gilmore agencies, a representative of many bike companies, and Vélozophie, a bicycle shop in Gatineau, donated parts to help fix the bikes that came in broken or a little out of shape. Two Philemon students, Robin Cohen and Griffin Mason, volunteered to work as mechanics.

“I love fixing bikes and when the opportunity came up to help start a program at my high school, I jumped on the chance,” Mason, a resident of Wakefield, said.

Although he said some of his friends are jealous of the regular classes he sometimes gets to miss, he continues to work on filtering broken parts, mending the bikes and getting everything in tip-top shape for his fellow students.

And his hard work has paid off. The Hadley-Philemon bike program now has a fleet of almost 40 bicycles. Almost a hundred students have grabbed helmets and jumped on a bike.

“Hopefully the whole school will be able to enjoy riding bikes in gym class,” Mason said.

What a great success story. I don’t know about you, but I think the complicatedness of gym classes during the pandemic has just taken a huge step in the right direction.

When I asked Mason to sum up the project in five words, he declared, “What a wicked cool opportunity.”

Photo courtesy Lucy Sinclair

Lucy Sinclair is a 14-year-old journalist, stargazer and lo-fi fanatic. She is currently living in Chelsea.


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