A Seymour Boy Scout is giving local cyclists the tools to always be prepared as the main goal of his Eagle Scout project.
R.J. Beavers, 15, who lives in the Reddington area, designed and built a bicycle repair station that was installed Oct. 8 at Shields Park in Seymour at the entrance to the Schurman-Grubb Memorial Skate Park.
The project has taken Beavers, a freshman at Seymour High School, nearly a year to complete. But now that it’s done, he’s proud of what he has accomplished and hopes the public will put the repair station to good use.
Painted bright orange to make it stand out, the metal structure provides a rack to elevate a bike or scooter so it’s easier to work on.
Story continues below gallery
Inside the hollowed-out post are all of the tools needed to adjust a bicycle seat, handlebars or pedals, replace a chain that has slipped or any other general maintenance or repair that may be required to keep a cyclist on the road.
The wrenches, screwdrivers and other tools provided are connected to the repair station by cables to prevent theft. There is even an air pump to fix a flat tire.
Beavers said he got the idea for a self-service bicycle repair station after learning the city was working to create multi-purpose trails throughout Seymour to encourage more people to ride bikes and walk.
“In the paper, I saw that Seymour was working on bike trails, and I decided I wanted to contribute to that in some way,” Beavers said.
He turned to Seymour Middle School technology teacher Curt Schleibaum for some advice and guidance on how to turn his desire to help into a real project.
The two talked about what Beavers could provide that would be helpful and used by others.
“He saw some in Indy, and it seemed like it would help our community,” Beavers said of Schleibaum suggesting a bicycle repair station.
They researched online what a station would look like and what tools it would need to have. It would cost nearly $1,000 to purchase such a station. But to qualify as an Eagle Scout project, Beavers knew he was going to have to do the work himself with the support of his family and the other members of Troop 529.
Eagle Scout is the highest level of scouting and is only earned by a small percent of all Boy Scouts. The average age of a recipient is 17.
Candidates for Eagle Scout must demonstrate high levels of leadership, citizenship and service, earn merit badges and complete a community project they must plan and execute on their own.
After coming up with a design for the repair station he thought would be possible to build, Beavers had his dad, Curtis, bring home an old concrete light pole. To transform the pole into the repair station, Beavers had to learn to weld and use plasma cutters.
He consulted with Matt Nicholson, owner of B2 Bikes and Boards in Seymour, to find out what tools would be the best to include.
“He gave me some ideas, and I looked online to see what other communities might have,” Beavers said. “We went up to Columbus to check out theirs, too.”
Beavers was able to get the tools from Ace Hardware in Seymour and worked with New Blast in Seymour to sandblast the pole to get it ready for powder coating and lettering.
No matter how secure he made it, Beavers said he knows there’s always a chance someone might try to steal the tools or damage the station itself.
“I hope that’s not the case because I put a lot of time and work into it,” he said. “But you can’t let people like that stop you from doing things to help the community.”
Bob Tabeling, director of the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department, said he was impressed when he learned of Beavers’ project and thought it was a perfect addition to Shields Park.
“It’s a very good idea,” Tabeling said. “I didn’t know how he was going to pull it off.”
Beavers originally had been working with former parks director Brent Jameson to make sure the repair station could be installed on city property. But Jameson resigned to take another job before the project was completed.
Working with Tabeling, Beavers was able to get the city to put in a concrete pad to which the bicycle station could be affixed.
The station already is getting plenty of use from BMX bikers who frequent the skate park, Tabeling said.
Beavers also plans to work with the city to put up some signage next to the station that will give cyclists a checklist to troubleshoot their bicycle problems.
One of the most difficult aspects of finishing the project was working around other people’s schedules and coordinating his own time, Beavers said. Besides school and Scouts, Beavers also is a member of the Seymour High School Marching Owls.
Beavers has been in Scouts since first grade and said it has been a driving force in his life, one that has helped mold him into the person he is today.
As boys get older, it’s not often they stay in Scouting because of other activities that come along, including sports and jobs, but Beavers said not earning Eagle Scout rank was never an option.
“Me and my parents have this thing where if you start it, you finish it,” Beavers said.
He credits his mom, Kathy, with giving him extra motivation to see it through.
“My mom made the goal of no wings, no wheels,” he said. “It’s getting about that time where I can start driving, and she said I can’t get my license without having my Eagle Scout. That’s a big motivator.”
Kathy Beavers, a teacher at Seymour Middle School, said she is proud of her son’s work ethic and contribution to the community.
“He’s a good kid, and Scouting has been great for our family,” she said.
R.J. said he is glad to see more boys in this area getting involved in Scouting.
“I think it gives more opportunities to do things most kids don’t get to do nowadays, like camping, learning about the outdoors, hiking, seeing and experiencing different things,” he said.
Besides all of the trips and activities, Scouting has also helped R.J. develop leadership and communication skills.
“That was a big thing with this project,” he said. “I wasn’t real good at talking to people and asking them to donate and help. It also helped me to really learn how to work with others.”
Before his Eagle Scout ceremony can be conducted, R.J. has to complete and submit paperwork documenting the work he did to complete the project.
What he likes most about the repair station is that he didn’t do it for himself and he was able to include his friends.
“It’s for the community, and it brought us together as a troop,” he said. “I was just the supervisor.”
Although it was fun, R.J. said he is glad the project is done.
“It feels great,” he said. “Especially knowing that people are using it.”