Thursday, November 10, 2011

Falls Church HS Bike Club

Falls Church HS bike club members
Austin Strand (Left) and Matt Quandt 
We recently learned about the Falls Church High School Bike Club. The club is an after school activity organized by Andrew Zlatnik, a teacher at the school. We asked Andrew a few questions about the club.

The club was started last year. Currently there are 5 regular members with up to 20 students attending some of the meetings. According to Andrew, "Three of the five regular members ride their bikes at least some of the time. There is a standard bike stand [rack] in front of the school." Several teachers also bike commute some of the time.

Andrew would also "like to find ways that we can offer repairs for students who ride or bring bikes to school in the near future." He also works at Phoenix Bikes. "I tried to model the bike club after Phoenix Bikes, including the earn-a-bike program where students can earn one of our donated bikes for themselves, a friend, or a family member after working in the shop for 25 hours and demonstrating basic bicycle repair skills."

"I have advertised on Freecycle and contacted several local condominiums or apartments for help in distributing the attached advertisement. We’ve had a slow but steady supply of donated bikes. We do depend on local donations for bicycles to work on. We try to fix the bikes we can, but strip others for usable parts. I recycle any frames or other metal parts that we can’t use."

Unfortunately, the club does not have rides since bicycle riding is listed as a "Prohibited Student Activity" by the Fairfax County Public Schools Risk Management office, along with such other activities as "Airplane or Helicopter Rides, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Rides, and Auto or Motor Racing". We contacted the Risk Management office and they indicated that if the permission were granted by the Activities and Risk Management offices and parents signed a release and the principal approved, a ride could be held.

If you would like to donate a bike to the Falls Church High School Bike Club, contact Andrew at

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I think it is absolutely absurd that bicycling is included on this list. Schools care far too much about liability than they do about giving kids ample opportunities for recreation and fun. That's sure not the kind of school system I want to send my kids to.

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