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Monday, 10 September 2012

Shepparton father of Olympian gets back on a bike with AustCycle

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Residents across Greater Shepparton had the chance to get back on their bikes and learn new cycling skills last month. The free AustCycle training courses were run by Cycling Victoria and included participant Don Fairless, who is the 86-year-old father of a cycling Olympian.

Don, whose son Stephen competed in cycling at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, attended the AustCycle course to keep himself fit, and he wasn’t the only Shepparton senior interested in maintaining an active lifestyle. 

“Don came intermittently according to the state of his health,” AustCycle accredited Teacher Wayne McLeod said. “But he was attending the course in order to keep himself healthy”.

“Two of the other men who were participating didn’t end up completing the course as they went off to have operations, but both expressed their keenness to return,” he added. “The remaining participants were female, the oldest of them being 76 years old and she was fantastic”.

While most of the participants attended the AustCycle course to improve their confidence on a bike and increase their fitness levels, they ended up gaining even more - a new circle of friends.

“As a group they have bonded well with one another,” McLeod said. “They have been exchanging details and sharing transport. Some people lived within a street of one another but had never met”.

The training involved participants attending a weekly one-hour lesson for six weeks running. Skills learned included how to conduct a basic bike check, knowing the correct riding positions, mounting and dismounting techniques, braking, balancing and cornering, changing gears, riding on hills and safely stopping and turning.

The training was funded by AustCycle through the Greater Shepparton City Council’s Healthy Communities Initiative, which encourages members of the community to get involved in fitness and get healthy.

Feedback from the course has been positive and McLeod hopes to run more programs soon.

“The weather was kind, the group was excellent and the council representatives came down to every session as they are keen to promote cycling in this region,” he said.

“There is the possibility of developing the course in the future and introducing new courses for unemployed or adult indigenous groups”.  

AustCycle’s aim is to provide high quality cycle education and training to every member of the Australian community regardless of background, age and skill level in order to improve public health, support the environment and reduce traffic congestion.

To register interest in the next Greater Shepparton training program contact Kipp Kaufmann on kipp.kaufmann@cycling.org.auor (03) 8480 3000.  To find out more about AustCycle visit http://www.austcycle.com.au.  

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