Just in time for Christmas, students in the diversified occupations program at Oxford Hills Technical School in Paris are holding an online sale of bikes they’ve refurbished. Proceeds will pay for tools and supplies. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

PARIS – About 20 bikes refurbished by students at Oxford Hills Technical School are up for sale just in time for Christmas.

“We list the bikes online,” instructor David Knightly said. “We have a marketplace page on Facebook. And I’ll list on Lewiston-Auburn Marketplace, or swap and sell pages locally.”

The online sale site is Diversified Occupations Bike Shop, the class Facebook page.

Knightly said students sell up to 40 refurbished mountain and road bikes each year, and proceeds pay for tools and supplies for the shop. The average price is $35, although he expects an L.L. Bean model will bring around $200.

“Basically, we take donated and disposed bikes in — many from local dumps — and go through them, refurbish and do whatever needs to be done to them, and we put them in a sale,” Knightly said. “We get mostly department store bikes or ones that are really old. Once in a while we’ll get a higher-end bike.”

And many of them need new parts.


“We go through a lot of cables,” he said. “A lot of these bikes have been left outside. The chains are ruined, the cables come in all rusted. The brake pads are a lot of the time rotted away. Shifters hitting on stuff. They’re designed to break.

“This year, I was able to buy a pneumatic pump so we don’t have to use the manual hand pumps to put air in the tires anymore,” he said.

Freshman Stephen Rand of West Paris gets advice on stripping a bike for rebuilding and custom painting from David Knightly, instructor for the diversified occupations program at Oxford Hills Technical School in Paris. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Stephen Rand, a freshman from West Paris, said he decided to enroll in the program after Knightly visited his eighth grade class at Oxford Hills Middle School last year when Knightly told students about the program to teach how to use power tools, including for woodworking.

“We build things, you don’t have to go to Ikea to buy something – you can build it yourself,” Rand said.

“And there are certain things you need to know for when you go into the tech school as a sophomore,” he said. “This is our introduction to that besides regular curriculum. I think it’s pretty cool.”

Another freshman, Sonya Darling of West Paris, got help from Knightly to adjust and check brakes.


She had already spent time learning woodworking and working in the café, which she said was her favorite part of diversified occupations program.

Buying a bike from the tech school comes with Knightly’s guidance for choosing and getting outfitted for the right one.

The bikes are a low-cost way for people to get started with biking, he said.

Freshman Sonya Darling of Oxford adjusts and checks the brakes on a bicycle during the diversified occupations program at Oxford Hills Technical School in Paris. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

“If someone who hasn’t ridden a bike in years comes in, I’ll ask them what they want to do. Do they want to ride on dirt? Go to Mt. Abram and fly down the mountain? There are road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids. Some people will be set with front suspension; others will want full suspension.

“If you climb hills you want a mountain bike because they have lots of gears. Or a hybrid, which is great for the road and carriage trails.”

If someone buys a bike and finds something wrong with it, they should bring it back to be adjusted, he said.


“If it’s something that we overlooked we’ll make it right,” Knightly said. ”If you wanted to change it, we would charge you for the parts you want switched. We can pretty much fit anyone from 10 years oldFre to adults.”

Knightly formerly taught science and Spanish, but launched the diversified occupations program about six years ago as an introduction to help students develop mechanical skills ahead of other tech programs, or for working in the community.

“There was no real introductory, mechanical component to the tech school,” he said. “I asked if we could do one and they gave money to get it started.”

The school is part of the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School complex in Paris.

While Maine Vocational Region 11 offers 20 programs to sophomores, juniors and seniors attending Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School and Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, diversified occupations is the only one focused on freshmen. It also prepares them for potentially entering the tech school programs once they become sophomores.

For more information on Vocational Region 11 program go to https://www.ohts.net/.

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