Students at a west Toronto high school are fixing up hundreds of broken-down bicycles seized from notorious bike thief Igor Kenk.
The bike repair class at Central Commerce Collegiate Institute located on Shaw Street south of Harbord started this September.
The class was started after the Cabbagetown Youth Centre, which had received the bulk of the almost 3,000 unclaimed bicycles confiscated from convicted bike thief Kenk, gave hundreds of damaged bikes to the Toronto District School Board.
The school board found a home for the bikes in Central Commerce, where declining enrolment means there are a number of empty classrooms and an unused pool. The classrooms where the bikes are housed are referred to as "the boneyard" by the students.
The bike repair class is now one of the most popular at the school, and there's a long waiting list to enroll.
"I really didn't know that a person like me could do all this stuff like that," said Fahmeda Al-Basith, a Grade 11 student.
Ravi-Mohan Sukhai, who teaches the class, said his passion for bikes started at a young age.
"I used to learn fixing bikes with my dad. And I can see that kids will love it — if I'm so engaged as a kid growing up I'm pretty sure kids will be engaged," he said.
The school plans to celebrate the program with the community in June, when it will sell the restored bikes in an auction. There will probably be a few good deals to be had, as high-end bikes that retail for a couple of thousand dollars will be available for a couple of hundred.
The school will put the money raised from the sale back into the program so more students can take part. The principal estimates there are enough bikes to keep them going for 10 years. The students, meanwhile, get their own reward.
"Every student who finishes the course takes their bike home and receives a helmet and receives training to do it safely of course," said principal Iwona Kurman.