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Thursday, 20 September 2012

AustCycle Provider helps Bicycle Courier Riders stay safe

Being an accredited AustCycle Provider opens up a range of opportunities. One day you might be teaching an adult to ride a bike for the very first time, and the next you could be instructing a group on how to ride efficiently in traffic.

Helping with the safety induction of a new bicycle courier business, however, is something that doesn’t happen everyday. But it is something that AustCycle Teacher and Provider Rosy Strong had the pleasure of doing.

An innovative bicycle courier company has sprung up in Victoria, which uses Year 11 students to deliver packages to the Shire of Nillumbik and the surrounding areas of Greensborough, Eltham, Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge.

Daryl Brooke, Business Manager of the aptly titled Clockwork Bicycle Couriers, said that the business is a health and well-being enterprise that aims to be financially sustainable.

“We have calculated that clients using Clockwork every working day for a year will save 750kg of greenhouse gas,” Brooke told AustCycle. “This is equivalent to saving seven trees a year, or 500 hours of air-conditioner operation”.

“Riders use a combination of train, bike track and road to make deliveries,” he added. “And, the profits fund an intergenerational group mentoring program, which supports youth in partnership with St Andrews Mens Shed”.

Clockwork Bicycle Couriers accepts items up to 20kg and offers guaranteed same day service, or urgent delivery.

“We are very competitively priced and astute,” Brooke said. “We accept irregular sized packages and we specialise in regular services for anyone requiring local deliveries, from as little as $5 per item”.

Currently, the delivery riders are all Year 11 students, although Brooke has tried to engage the services of semi-retired members of the local Bicycle Users Group.

A moderate level of fitness is required, as a delivery run can end up being a 40km ride through somewhat hilly terrain, and Brooke hopes that more children will be inspired to participate in cycling.

“This area has some rural communities and residents often need to travel for work, school and fun,” he said. “Cycling can eliminate isolation as well as the other health benefits”.

To ensure the riders were properly trained in bike safety, the company enlisted the help of AustCycle Teacher Rosy Strong.

“We needed to ensure that we had an operation that was safe and would comply with OH&S requirements,” Brooke told AustCycle. “I wanted a risk assessment to identify processes that needed work, as well as an induction program for riders. Rosy helped us with both”.

“In addition to getting Rosy’s help, I have also given each rider a safety equipment kit including a good quality helmet, night riding light, high-visibility vest and a good quality riding rain jacket. The kit also includes a map, puncture repair kit, pump and light charger”.

As a cyclist himself, Brooke accompanies new riders on their first delivery run to assess any skill development they might need and to ensure they make appropriate route decisions in terms of safety and efficiency.

So far, everything has been a great success.

“We just completed our first week of deliveries where we survived a storm and still made our deliveries,” Brooke said. “We have been able to give the riders two hours of work, three days a week, for the next three months guaranteed”.

While the business only started operating earlier this month, it is hoped that as Clockwork becomes more well known within the community it will encourage residents to make better life choices.

“The youth mentoring connection means that in time Clockwork will have the potential to offer work to young people who need it,” Brooke said. “For now, we recruit through our youth services and local network but we hope that the mentoring program ends up creating a place for young people in St Andrews”.

“Hundreds of cyclists ride through St Andrews every week heading up to Kinglake, so in time it could end up being a general cycling drop-in space, which is a hope of the Mens Shed, our youth mentoring program partners. I hope Clockwork will push a love of the activity further into the community”.

The business is currently looking to hire a new rider in Hurstbridge and another in Eltham, so if you are interested, or know of anyone who would be, contact Clockwork on 0448 286 278 or visit http://www.clockwork.org.auto check out rates, delivery zones or to make a booking. For more information on AustCycle visithttp://www.austcycle.com.au

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