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November 15th 2018

Motorcycle Maintenance

Motorbike Club is a pioneering club at Blackheath High School. Learning practical motor mechanics will give our students an opportunity to experience the fascinating world of mechanical engineering and therefore engineering as a wider subject. The UK has been underrepresented by women in engineering and we believe that the Motorbike Club is a brilliant place to start that spark of enthusiasm. This is supported in tandem by the Design Technology department’s ethos to break stereotypes, challenge convention and show that our young women can do anything they want!

Read more about school clubs at Blackheath High School.

This is epitomised by Spanish rider Ana Carrasco, who this year has become the first female rider to win a motorbike world championship, winning the title by a single point over compatriot male Mika Perez. The 21 year old claimed her title in the World SuperSport 300 — a support series for the World SuperBike championship. This is a remarkable achievement in what is such a male dominated sport.

The club ran previously under the name “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”.  It’s concept: to use the well-known philosophical book of the same name by Robert M Persig, to guide the disassembly and organisation of the rebuild of a Royal Enfield Bullet 500 ES motorbike; generously donated by a parent of one of our girls. The past two years we have concentrated on taking apart the motorbike with girls from all year groups getting involved. 

A new academic year brings a new challenge for a fresh group of girls - the task of putting the motorbike back together! This new stage in the motorbike’s renovation will include sending off all the chrome parts to be re-chromed, (we are hoping that a contact of the father of Katherine von Doetinchem Derande will be able to help us with this), rebuilding the engine, gearbox and transmission with both new and reconditioned parts. Also assembling all the periphery parts, wheels, mudguards, electrics and finally number plate.

The long-awaited launch of Motorbike Club happened at lunchtime on Tuesday the 25 September and was a great success and gained much traction on the Design Technology Twitter account (D&T@BlackheathDT). So much so that the club is now oversubscribed with half of all year groups represented. New to the club this year, our girls will be able to complete the skills section of either their Bronze, Silver or Gold levels for the Duke of Edinburgh awards. The idea that through the reassembly of the motorbike, we will equip our students with life-long skills and experiences which relates directly to the ethos of the scheme; such is the diversity and complexity of the club.

Hopefully, by July 2019 we will be able to wheel the Enfield into the school’s amazing new courtyard and model it by the Louvre-esque pyramid. Keep watching this space…


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