Learning and Earning

link bicycleEAST BURKE-“In this community, we have so many opportunities for biking. We have biking at Lyndon Institute, their trails, the Kingdom Trails. The whole network infusion of bike interest, I think, has really inspired me to create more opportunities for more people to get on the bicycle. Help out the environment too!” said Rebecca Owens, the funding director of LINK, who set up this learning and earning program for one year.



LINK is a bicycle program for teaching people how to fix or install bicycles. They assemble used bikes that mostly come from donation and offer professional tools as well as mechanics to help people learn how to do a hands-on fix.

This idea can help people deal with their old bicycles and make full use of them to help others get cheaper or even free bikes. The participants can donate 25 dollars to take a five-week, once-per-week class at LINK and get a bicycle, helmet, and other relevant equipment as a graduation package. Right now, the students at LINK are all from Burke Town School, and they are also the members of Outdoor Club. They can get free bicycles only by working with their mechanics for 5 weeks.

One of the students, Elizabeth Duranleau said that the reason she picked her bicycle at LINK is because it has suspension, something her last bike did not have. “I really liked it. When you go over bumps, it helps that you are not as rough on your bike.” Duranleau said.

The core to keep running this non-profit organization is that it has enough bikes and the new components for fixing. Achieve these goals require money, bike donations and mechanics. Rebecca said that the board had donated over 3,000 dollars to let LINK get started. From last year to current, asking from the community, she got 900 dollars from Community National Bank, North Country Federal Union, and Northern Vermont Regional Hospital. “It’s a good start, and they all really support LINK, but we need a little bit more,” said Rebecca. In order to solve the financial problem, LINK will set up a Bike Swap on Saturday, May 19th. Everyone in the community can donate a bike on Friday night on May 18th, at the Fenton Chester Arena at Lyndon Institute. LINK members can help sell the bikes on May 19th, with people who donating bikes getting 80% of the money, and LINK getting 20% of the money.  

The help came from volunteers, who are also very important to the program. Matt Mendrala is a mechanic who works for the Village Sport Shop. He came to help teach these students fix or re-arrange their dream bicycles. “They are working well! I mean, this is the first time they ever worked on stuff like that. It’s important for me because I’ve been showing a lot of people how to work on bikes, so I figured out it’s time to pay a forward and show some of other people how to do it.”