LAVERTON CYCLING PROJECT UPDATE
Sabine Bird, Laverton Cycling Project Co-ordinator
The inaugural Laverton Cycling Program has begun!
We have started our inaugural regular bike program in Laverton! This program sees us gathering kids and adults for bike rides and skills sessions and promote a healthier lifestyle in the community. One crucial part of this program is to liaise with various entities around town to build a viable group of riders, find local support, and provide opportunities of different degree, whilst also participating in a fun activity that is normally less accessible in remote areas.
One of our main partners is the local youth centre, who are putting a tremendous effort towards providing a safe space for boys and girls of all ages, where they run a variety of programs and also try to teach them important life skills based on rewards upon completed tasks, good behaviour and understanding of rules.
When we – endearingly referred to as the “bike mob” – arrive in town, we feel incredibly privileged to be welcomed with open arms by them!
On our most recent trip we had plenty of little kids warming up on an obstacle course and then learning how to look around for cars before indicating with their arms and turning safely. We also spent some time on the “scramble track” out in the bush with the older kids, who love showing off with tricks and racing each other. When they are encouraged to be competitive with each other, they sure do!
The beautiful situations that happen during the day and remind us of how important this program is are the little moments in time: When you meet some little kids on their own bikes long before school starts and they ask if we could go riding together now; Or the lovely shout-outs from far across the street when they see you, asking when they can go on a bike again…
After a ride with the older kids, we gathered at the youth centre and talked about what it is that we enjoy about bike riding. Everyone had a different answer, which comes down to “having fun while trying out tricks”, “doing something with friends and family members”, “staying fit”, “and doing something different”. In particular, the last comment shows how important it is to have access to bikes, something that is not given in these remote areas. It certainly makes our regular visits worthwhile.
Last but not least, we also have our adult riding group, who braved early morning starts to do some riding before the heat took over the day. We started incorporating basic interval training up the main road as well as some gravel riding for variety.
Three of the members in this group will sadly leave town at the end of the month but we will make sure to stay in touch and encourage them to ride wherever they are.
Needless to say that a good-bye granted a night out playing darts and having a yarn with a number of people from the community.
We cannot thank sponsors and previous riders enough for helping to get this program off the ground. Stay tuned for what’s to come…