The Power Of Bikes In Remote Communities
Bike SA staff member, Joey Fagan explains the positive effect your old bike can bring to remote communities
After two years delivering Bikes Palya – a program for kids and communities in the APY lands – I am still amazed to see how powerfully the bicycle can engage youth and provide opportunities for whole of community development.
Where have you been working?
So far we have worked with around 270 young people in schools across nine APY land communities. We have gifted 100 bikes to be used in physical education (other curriculum is in development) and as attendance incentives. And it works. According to teachers our visits boost school attendance by an average of 10%. Imagine the potential benefits if that were maintained long term.
What effect does it have on the community?
We do more than take classes in schools. Through public workshops we engage older youth (15-18) and senior community members thereby building connections across generations. skills development (mechanical) and job creation (BMX track construction) have been recognised for further development in creating ongoing roles through BMX clubs. Wouldn’t that be great!
Are you building BMX Tracks to ride on?
A key goal of the program is establishing safe spaces for bike riding. Community support toward this has been overwhelming. With consultation phases complete for all 9 communities, construction progress varies but one track is already completed in Amata. What great initiative shown by the community members involved there!
What do people think of the programme?
Here are a few quotes I’d like to share from people I’ve worked with up in the APY lands:
“Bikes Palya have worked hard to team up with Skillhire to construct a bike track, with a BMX course, at the Community Shed. Bikes were donated to the school for students to use in the PE programme. Some older bikes have now been designated for students to use after hours. Several bikes were retrieved from the dump, repaired and recycled within the Anangu Community. This has given vast numbers of children in Amata a recreational area that is healthy and social.”
Peter Bajcic, PE and Health Teacher, Amata Anangu School
“[Bikes Palya] are doing an amazing job of educating kids about bike riding as well as providing all community kids with a fantastic bike program. The kids were so excited that Joey and Molly were coming back to Pipalyatjara. It warms my heart to see the kids on their bikes having lots of fun.”
Jane Mitchell, Wellbeing Coordinator, Pipalyatjara Anangu School
Entering the third year of this exciting project our goals are clear. To support the growing BMX culture we need to achieve two things: to facilitate the completion of all tracks and to make sure there are sufficient bikes in communities to go around.
This is where you come in. We need quality BMX bikes of any size or sturdy mountain bikes to be provided through the gifting program. Clear out the shed and ask your neighbours. Your contribution will directly benefit youth in remote APY land communities. Donations can be made at 53 Carrington Street Adelaide during office hours by end of February.
Where they will go?
We will direct our new donations towards targeted engagement programs, rewarding participation in school and community projects. This is modelled on various successful ‘earn a bike’ schemes in youth programs worldwide.