New residents benefit from cycle skills lessons

18 April 2016

Residents new to Hamilton came in for a treat recently when they attended a cycle skills training session. Nine participants, mostly from refugee backgrounds, took part in the two-hour lesson and left with bevy of new skills and a new helmet each, courtesy of Bikes International Limited and the Rotary Club of Hamilton East.

Event coordinator Celia Hope is thrilled with the success of the lessons, and hopes it will become the norm for other refugees keen to learn cycle skills when they arrive in New Zealand. Celia herself is an ESOL Literacy Tutor and NZQA Cycle Skills Instructor, so has the perfect qualifications to deliver cycle skills lessons to those who are not native English speakers.

“There were a couple of glitches in the beginning with bike maintenance issues, but once that was sorted, the participants took to it like ducks to water,” said Celia, describing the day. “By the end of the session, every participant was competent in the basic level one skills.”

Plans are in place to create a follow-on lesson where participants will have the opportunity to ride on relatively quiet streets and learn to manoeuvre safely through intersections. Celia hopes that the messaging will spread organically, as those who attend share their new knowledge with friends and family.

“It’s possible that by planting the seed, our participants will pursue cycling in earnest, for transport reasons or even as a career. These types of lessons are invaluable in our community, and by targeting those new to the activity, we can instil the proper rules and guidelines from the beginning,” she noted.

The project is made possible by Frankton Rotary Club, English Language Partners Waikato Centre, Hamilton Bicycling Network Trust, The Bike Barn, Bikes International Ltd and the Rotary Club of Hamilton East with support from Bike Wise.