Bikes Palya’s year of boosting communities

Bicycle SA’s Bikes Palya team is understandably proud of the fun and flowing pump track that it built in Oodnadatta in July with the invaluable help of Nick Bowman from Destination Trails.

The track, to entertain the young people in the local community as well as the many visitors who pass through the town, was completed over five days using 100 tons of dirt and an incredible amount of hands-on hard work by all those involved.

Now the team is marching forward from that success, supporting the establishment of a walking and cycling club in Oodnadatta that came about during a community meeting about the track and how to use it to achieve broader community engagement.

The local community has also responded warmly since the pump track’s arrival.

Bobby, the local constable, said that since the track had been installed in July more kids were riding and wearing helmets, and that use of the track was still increasing.

Jason, a young adult from a nearby station said that he’d used the track several times and that “other station kids will use it once they’ve seen it”.

Eloise, a nurse at the health clinic said when the track was being built there was a lot of excitement, everyone was taking photos and wanted to be involved.  “Bikes Palya isa great program for the whole community. The kids look forward to it every holidays and adults come together around the track to watch the kids ride. Few services come to Oodnadatta, especially ones with fun programs,” she said.

Among the infrastructure that will underpin the walking and cycling club will be three bright yellow bikes from the Ofo bike-hire scheme that shut down in Adelaide last year. Since then they had been stored by Bike SA before Dunjiba Council had them trucked up to be put to good use in the Far North.

The pump track was built in accordance with a Dunjiba Community plan to develop the main street for recreation purposes. It also links together aims to encourage cycling and walking in and around the community.

There are two walking loops on which Bikes Palya consulted on the design and which they encouraged to also open them up to cycling.

Points of interest have been marked but the trails remain to be developed. One goal of the walking and cycling club is to visit these points of interest and teach the culture and history of Oodnadatta to local youth as well as to visitors. 

The Oodnadatta projects are admirable successes for Bikes Palya but they are just part of the ongoing efforts they have put in throughout this year in their work to improve health and wellbeing in remote Indigenous communities through cycling.

Their other achievements in 2019 include:

  • A total of 450 youths were engaged through Bikes Palya
  • Four out of the 11 SA Health “healthy towns challenge” grants announced have included Bikes Palya as an external partner
  • Being active in 10 regions and delivered 16 weeks of programming
  • Delivering four holiday visits per year to four communities
  • Expanding the focus on the APY lands to Far North (Oodnadatta and Leigh Creek) and Far West (Ceduna and Yalata) regions
  • Supplying 50 bikes to top up existing and establish new bike programs
  • Running inter-school competitions, incentivising school attendance and engagement with cycling and healthy choices and facilitating inter-community bike competition at the APY annual sports carnival
  • Supporting bike loan schemes in six communities, providing access to bikes year-round.

Supporting Bicycle SA, through membership and/or its many events and courses throughout each year, also supports the Bikes Palya team and the efforts they are making to create real, positive, meaningful change in people’s lives.

Joey Fagan

Joey Fagan is a project coordinator for Bikes Palya at Bike SA. When not chained to a desk he rides his Surley CX far and wide. Co-founder of Adelaide Bike Kitchen, he plans to one day to open a BnB/garlic farm.

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