August, 2021

Recently members of the Cycling Development Foundation travelled to Laverton as part of the Laverton Cycling Project initiative. This program has now been running for close to 5 years. What started out as a bike building and mentoring program has now morphed into a broader cycling program aimed at promoting cycling as a form of exercise, health, well-being, transportation, social facilitation, enjoyment and self-development for Indigenous, youth and community in the greater Laverton Area.

Members met with the Laverton Shire, Pakanuu Aboriginal Corporation, Community Resource Centre, Laverton Cross Cultural Association, Laverton School, Laverton Police Department, Youth- Shire Services, Laverton Stakeholder group to discuss avenues for progressing the program forward to a sustainable community-led model.

From these meeting’s the CDF is now looking at opportunities to support community members to run both youth focused programs and adult focused programs to develop cycling as a form of participation for all community members. Historically much work has gone into maintaining and improving existing cycling resources, such as servicing bikes so that they are resilient to the hard terrain, and supporting programs run several times a year for community members. Our focus now turns to developing longer term sustainable systems for cycling in the region.

These next steps bring the program closer to sustainability as we seek to support community members in delivering cycling programs in their own right as required. Combined with the Perth to Laverton Cycling Classic (PLCC) terminating in Laverton each year, with a renewed focus on delivering cycling participation events for the community and as a form of tourism, means cycling is building good capacity in this region.

Cycling offers opportunity for people of diverse fitness and cultural backgrounds to come together and explore their region. Cycling, unlike many sporting codes, does not discriminate between age or gender, rather a 10-year-old can cycle with a 60-year-old with both receiving the physiological and psychological benefits of doing so.

To this end cycling can improve health and well-being: previous programs have seen a 40% decrease in the health risk profile of people new to cycling with just 1 month of 25 minutes of moderate cycling per week. Concurrent to these findings, an individual’s mood scores when measured pre and post cycling exercise can improve on average 25% with just 15mins of moderate cycling activity. Yes, your mood can increase by 25% with a short bout of cycling!

The ability to engage with the Laverton community has been made possible by a great many local stakeholders, a generous and passionate fundraising rider group of the PLCC and our own corporate partners, whom share a vision for developing opportunities in remote communities. To this end, the Laverton Cycling Project is a pilot program that could allow greater service to additional rural and remote communities in Western Australia and more broadly Australia once sustainability is reached.

Mary Tennant, Chair of the Cycling Development Foundation also had this to say about this years PLCC:

“September brings so much joy and excitement to the Cycling Development Foundation’s community in the lead up to the epic ride from Perth to Laverton. With more cyclists this year and a bumper rain season we will be cycling through some magnificent country. Our engagement with Aboriginal people along the route has proved to be a highlight of our journey and this year we will be meeting with old friends and new. Plans are underway in Laverton for our arrival and this year we have the added anticipation of the Laverfest festivities in full swing. We come prepared with more bikes, equipment and enthusiasm to share with the eager young Laverton cyclists who in the past have taken us on many joy rides on their country.”