East Lycoming School District’s new three-wheeled bicycles

East Lycoming School District students take a spin on the new three-wheeled bicycles

Pure joy is when you have never ridden a bicycle and suddenly you have the opportunity to experience that freedom.

For three students at the East Lycoming School District that joy was evident as they entered the turf room at the high school where bikes are stored and spied three bicycles specially for them.

According to Steve Budman, their physical education teacher, the boys had been working out in the fitness center on stationary bikes.

“We started thinking about what if we could get them moving outside on regular bikes. It would have to be three-wheel bikes, so we started looking for three-wheel bikes but really to no avail,” he said.

Budman noted how they had searched on Craig’s list for three-wheeled bikes and had approached the local bicycle shop in town but still could not find any.

An email from Michael Pawlik, district superintendent, brought a solution to the problem with information about a grant through the East Lycoming Education Foundation.

The Clay Fought grant, sponsored by a generous donor, is specifically designated for outdoors activities and sports.

“I thought that would be perfect, so I filled out the application and wrote a letter about what the bikes would be for and I got the grant for $2,500,” Budman said.

Pearson’s Bicycle Shop took over from there and got the bikes for the district. Because of the size of the grant the district purchased three, three-wheeled bikes and nine, two-wheelers.

“Now we have the students riding the bikes in the hallways,” Budman said.

“My legally blind student follows me. I have a fluorescent orange vest on, so he follows me. They’re learning to steer because a lot of them have never been on bikes,” he said.

As soon as the weather improves the plan is to take the bikes outside.

“So a group of us can ride on school property down to the Little League field. It’s just a different activity that everybody can do together, (so if) they can’t ride the two-wheel bikes we have the three-wheel bikes for them,” Budman added.

And, according to Budman, the students love their new cycling experience.

“The first student I had on them was my legally blind student. He was giggling uncontrollably because he had never been on a bike before and then he was riding through the hallways,” he said.

He shared that one student rides the bike down to the fitness center and parks it.

“He considers it his bike. When he’s done at the fitness center, he jumps on the bike and rides it back to the gym,” he added.

Budman noted that while acquiring the bikes has been a wonderful addition to the phys-ed classes at the district, the whole project has had an affect on not only the students.

“It’s great for them, but it’s even better for me,” he admitted. “It’s an uplifting experience to put a girl or a boy on a bike who’s never been on a bike.”