U-High Midway

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Students build, repair their bikes to avoid expenses of bike shops

BUILD IT, RIDE IT, LOVE IT. Junior Aden Chon kneels down to tighten the axle nuts on the front wheel of his custom made bike. Aden has assembled his bike throughout the past year, first getting into it after realizing just how much money he was spending on repairs at local bike shops.

Maria Shaughnessy

BUILD IT, RIDE IT, LOVE IT. Junior Aden Chon kneels down to tighten the axle nuts on the front wheel of his custom made bike. Aden has assembled his bike throughout the past year, first getting into it after realizing just how much money he was spending on repairs at local bike shops.

Teddy Neer, Midway Reporter

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While some students enjoy extracurriculars, playing video games or grinding out their schoolwork, two juniors have spent the past year investing their time and sweat in a new passion. Luke Sikora and Aden Chon didn’t buy bikes that were ready to ride. Instead, they each built a custom ride from the frame up.

Building a bike appealed to Luke and Aden for different reasons. Aden was tired of spending lots of money on at bike shops and wanted to save money by building his own bike.

“Taking your bike to shops for basic services and repairs can get really expensive, so I decided to spend that money on getting a good tool kit and teaching myself how to do repairs and build bikes,” Aden said. “It’s really fun. Once you get really in the zone with it, you can work on your bike for a whole day and not even notice to time go by.”

Aden was initially motivated by saving money but eventually began to enjoy the work. However, Luke began working on bikes because it gave him freedom.

“I started out modifying my bike mostly because I just wanted to make it the best bike possible,” Luke said. “I just really wanted to build something that was really easy and smooth to ride.”

To Luke and Aden, building a bike is not just saving money and making an ideal bike. Both felt that riding on a bike they had built themselves made for a stronger connection.

“When you learn how to do repairs yourself, you feel more connected to your bike. That’s something that you built — all your own effort, all your own money, all your own parts,” Aden said. “You can also make it ride exactly how you want it to, unlike when you buy a prebuilt bike from a shop.”

While building and repairing a bike has some clear advantages, it can seem daunting. Those who want to build their own bikes have many resources, ranging from YouTube videos to books, to help learn about working on bikes. There is also no right or wrong way to learn. Neither Luke nor Aden took classes but were still able to build bikes.

“I learned about all this stuff in sort of an unorthodox way, which was pretty much just doing it by myself. I never took any classes or anything. I was gifted a 300-page book that has everything you could think of,” Luke said. “I would just read and study that book like it was a bible. And with that knowledge, along with just knowing a lot of people who I rode with that were bike mechanics, I just picked things up as I went along,”

Working on bikes may be difficult work. If one is willing to put in the time, money and effort, it can become a fun pastime that yields many rewards. Luke said his best advice for those who want to work on bikes is to just give it a shot.

“My only advice is that you should definitely fix up your bike,” Luke said. “Even if you don’t care much about having the latest and most aesthetic parts, being able to fix up a bike and have it to ride is awesome.”

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