Youths gear up to build bicycles

Celena Appleby-Prince, nine, gets to grips with a spanner

Celena Appleby-Prince, nine, gets to grips with a spanner Buy this photo

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

YOUNGSTERS have learnt how to build their own bikes this week at an Oxford charity.

Trax youth project on Woodstock Road gave teenagers secondhand frames and showed them how to put on tyres, handlebars and saddles.

The students paid £150 for the course and also got training in road safety and the chance to make some new friends.

The summer holiday course helps fund the term-time activities Trax runs for disadvantaged youngsters all year-round.

Celena Appleby-Prince, nine, from Oxford, built a blue mountain bike.

The Our Lady’s Abingdon junior school pupil said: “It is fun because most people have never built a bike before, it is a new experience.

“You have to check the wheels to see if there are cracks or holes, then fix them to the bike, but there are people to help.”

Lana Pagnier, 13, who lives in Iffley Fields, Oxford, built a bike to keep at her grandmothers’s house in Dover, to go cycling when she visits.

The Cheney School pupil said: “It’s gone really well, “I’ve learnt how to fix my bike and how to tell when the tyres need replacing.”

Alex Blackmore-Sly, 12, from Charlbury, said he enjoyed learning how to replace the brake pads on his bike. He said: “It had been a lot of fun.”

Trax has been running in Oxford for 20 years, and takes 500 disadvantaged young people every year on gardening, catering and bike-building courses.

Director Peter Wilks said: “We have a good record of kids going through Trax and getting jobs. Those kids can then take part in society with a job. For some of these kids with problems that can be a massive step.”

The centre costs £300,000 a year to run and is always looking for donations.

Find out more at traxorg.com

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