PTA grant brings new bikes for middle school

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Whitefish Middle School students Josh Nelson and Kyle To take the school’s new bikes out for a spin. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

This fall Whitefish Middle School students should be cycling their way to fitness.

A generous donation from the Whitefish Parent Teacher Association has supplied the school with 20 new exercise spin bikes in the upper gym.

Physical education teacher Brett Bollweg requested funding for the bikes earlier in the spring.

“Hopefully it’ll be something that all of our students can access for a long, long time, and be a great low impact, lifestyle choice of healthy living,” Bollweg said. “That was the hope originally, when we asked for the bikes. Now we’re continuing to add to opportunities for our kids to lead healthy lifestyles.”

While Bollweg’s original request was for $5,000 for the bikes, that cost rose after a good opportunity for high-quality bikes came up. Bollweg said a vendor approached him with bikes matching the specifications he was looking for, but at $6,000 more than he requested initially.

The PTA ended up funding the full request, he said, with the understanding profits from the sale of the school’s used equipment will be refunded back into the PTA.

Getting higher quality bikes will hopefully mean less maintenance costs in the future, Bollweg said. One of the things he was looking for in bikes was a bigger reliance on mechanical components that are easier to repair than computer-based components, which would require a specialist.

“They’re not $200 bikes that are hopefully going to last us a few years, they’re actually refurbished bikes that were $1,600 originally,” he said. “So we’re buying a high quality product to begin with, and on top of that we’re trying to avoid getting any computer based items that can potentially fall apart and aren’t an easy fix for myself or Mrs. McFadden here at the school.”

The bikes arrived on the final week of school and won’t get much use until the fall, but Bollweg said he’s still extremely grateful to have a supportive PTA behind him.

“I’m just totally blown away by [the PTA’s] willingness to get behind something that we deem as a really great and necessary thing for our kids, something that they can continue to learn at a young age and hopefully fall in love with the idea of exercise,” he said. “Thank you to the PTA and everybody else who had a part in this.”

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