Michael Holbrook is on the lookout for bicycles — not to ride, but to turn into projects for his engineering and design classes at Seaquam Secondary.
“I don’t like to waste things,” Holbrook said. “The environment we live in, there’s too much waste already.”
To that end, Holbrook is gathering bicycles for his students to “upcycle” into human-powered, three-wheeled vehicles. Over the course of three months, the teenagers will develop AutoCAD drawings for their designs, then put them into action using the tools in Seaquam’s workshop.
“I show the kids the basics, and then I let them explore and figure out how to get there,” Holbrook said.
This isn’t the first year Holbrook has worked with bicycles. Last year he did a similar project, and scoured the streets of North Delta with his van and a bike rack during the fall clean up. He got 20 bikes that year he was able to get parts from.
This year, instead of scouring the streets, Holbrook took to social media, asking the members of the North Delta Community Corner Facebook page for their unwanted bikes.
So far, Holbrook has six second-hand bicycles for the students to use, as well as a graveyard of bicycle parts in an upstairs storage space at the school. He’s hoping to get between 10 and 20 bicycles this year for his students to work with.
“I’m happy to take donations, but I don’t want people to just give me real garbage,” he said. “If the chain is so rusty it can’t bend at all, that tells you a lot about the rest of the bike usually. I have to be able to salvage parts.”
In addition to building human-powered vehicles, Holbrook is also hoping to teach his classes how to build electric-powered vehicles out of bicycle parts, and possibly turn unused parts into new bikes for the community.
“My goal is to also take all of [the parts] and build a new bike out of each one if we can,” Holbrook said. “And those we can donate back the community, people who can’t afford to buy bikes for their kids. Or we save them for next year and just keep reusing and reusing.”