Cycling club is work in tandem Wheels: Lindale-Brooklyn Park Middle School Assistant Principal Bill Eggert's bicycle club teaches students about safety and maintenance, and allows him to connect with youths.

October 19, 1997|By Bonita Formwalt | Bonita Formwalt,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The rumors are true. Lindale-Brooklyn Park Middle School's assistant principal, Bill Eggert, is a biker.

OK, it's not a Harley motorcycle, but a 10-speed bike that is Eggert's favorite mode of transportation. To share his enthusiasm for the sport with his students, he recently began a bike club at Lindale-Brooklyn.

The bike club's 15 members learn about bike repair, safety and maintenance. Members are setting up a workshop at the school.

An avid cyclist, Eggert started his first bike club while teaching at Southern High School. A $2,000 grant from the Potomac Pedalers bike club paid for bike tools and manuals.

The program was so successful it won the first Innovation in Education Award, sponsored by Anne Arundel County schools.

When he was promoted to assistant principal at Lindale-Brooklyn Middle School, Eggert left the club and the equipment behind at Southern.

But when officials there, dealing with a jump in the student population, dismantled the shop for more class space, Eggert jumped at the chance to move the equipment to Lindale-Brooklyn.

He sees the program as an opportunity to connect with the students at the middle school.

"After I was promoted to Lindale, I missed working one-on-one DTC with the kids. [As an assistant principal], I'm the disciplinarian and I see kids usually when they're in trouble," says Eggert.

"The bike club is a good opportunity for me to work with them, to see them get excited and smile," says Eggert.

Although Eggert prefers racing or touring bicycles, the club members show a preference to BMX biking. "They're into more tricks. They like to jump off things and watch other people fall," says Eggert.

Eighth-grader Adam Bois said he really enjoys the club. The 13-year-old owns a GT Performer BMX bike. "We learn how to ride, where to ride and how to work on the bikes," says Adam. "It's neat."

Working on the bikes is the major attraction for Adam, who admits taking his bike apart just to see if he can put it back together.

Bike repair is the main focus of the club.

"They're eager to bring their own bikes and work on them," says Eggert, who notes some of the club members don't have a bike.

Eggert also sees the club as an incentive for the students to behave better.

"I don't want this to be a chore for me. If I'm staying late for them, they're going to have to behave themselves. If I start seeing club members getting referrals for bad behavior or truancy, they're not going to be in the club," says Eggert.

Eggert says his real hope is for his students to get more from the club than just exercise.

"I hope to build some character too. Maybe lead by example."

Leading on a bike.

Pub Date: 10/19/97

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