Fixing and building and learning hands-on.
Riders of a certain age like to complain a lot about the modern motorcycle industry. This complaining invariably includes lots of yelling about why kids aren’t getting excited about motorbikes anymore. Thing is, we could waste a lot of time arguing about it, or we could do something productive instead. The Motogo Mobile Shop Class program in Cleveland, Ohio is teaching junior and high school students how to fix motorcycles, and they’re getting school credit to do it.
Besides ending up with a running bike at the end of the term, the kids enrolled in this class are learning about all kinds of hand tools, engine parts, and ways of thinking that they might not have experienced before. Problem-solving skills look a lot different when you’re putting them into practice, instead of simply sketching them out on paper.
The motorcycle world is in a state of flux right now, with changing technologies evolving around all of us, all the time. Learning how to think about problems, how to work through them, and gaining a solid grasp of fundamental skills gives these kids a ladder they can climb. As this news piece suggests, so many career and general life opportunities will open up, just because they’ve explored these ways of thinking that might be totally new.
I grew up curious about lots of things, and often tried to do stuff like fix broken cassette tapes as a kid so I could keep using them. Unfortunately, I simply didn’t have the kind of upbringing that had me wrenching on anything from an early age. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have enjoyed it, but it wasn’t available to me and it isn’t available to a lot of people. Showing kids what’s so cool about bikes instead of just telling them is an excellent way to build great futures for both these kids and motorcycles, in general.
Over at Magnificat High School in Rocky River, Ohio, the Motogo program showcases just what these kids can learn. With a semester-long program, kids enrolled in the class learn motorcycle maintenance skills that can translate into deeper hands-on mechanical understanding and curiosity for the future. So many directions are possible, it’s hard not to get excited about it.
“What we're really doing is giving students a safe place to fail and to try again and learn that failure is the necessary step to success,” Motogo founder Molly Vaughan said. It’s an important lesson for us all to learn, and this definitely isn’t the only place that mindset is applicable.