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Friday, 3 August 2012

AustCycle helps migrants and refugees get back on their bikes

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AustCycle training courses are helping migrants and refugees learn bike handling skills in the South Morang area.

Whittlesea BUG, one of AustCycle’s newest Providers, ran its first official AustCycle training course at the council offices, Civic Centre in South Morang last week, as part of the Federal Government’s Healthy Communities Initiative (HCI). AustCycle is part of the HCI program funded by the government.

The free training was split in to two sessions, with a women’s only session in the morning and a mixed group in the afternoon.

AustCycle accredited Teacher Tori Pearce said that many of the participants were from refugee and migrant backgrounds and discussed difficulty finding employment and engaging in the community.

Reasons for participation included a desire to improve current fitness levels, to learn new skills or to learn to ride for the first time.

“One woman wanted to buy a bike for her birthday in September but she needs to learn to ride first!” Tori told AustCycle. “The beginners worked on basic skills such as stopping, starting, turning, signalling, intersections and a short ride on bike paths. Intermediate riders worked on gear changes and bike maintenance and we went for a ride around quiet Whittlesea streets”.

Tori said feedback from the day was extremely positive and she hopes more courses can be run throughout the year.

“Many riders want to come back for another session which we hope to organise at some time this year,” Tori said. “There are also a group of adolescents engaged with Whittlesea Community Connections who would like to learn to ride, and we may run sessions for these young people too”.

Whittlesea BUG was established in 2010 to cater for the growing cycling needs of the Whittlesea community. If you would like to find out more about them visit their website here

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