01/06/2011 - Last month signaled the start of our new “Learn to Ride” schools programme.
The programme is being delivered in partnership with Sport Southland and our mates at the Southland Mountain Bike and BMX clubs. It is being funded through KiwiSport and is based on BikeNZ’s Fundamentals programme which has been piloted over the last year in Rotorua.
We are starting with eight Invercargill schools and a six week course, building skills, having fun and learning the art of riding bikes, culminating in a fun “Finals” day at Sandy Point.
After our first couple of sessions it looked like we were going to struggle with such a huge mix in abilities and confidence, with some year four students having never ridden a bike! Each session consists of a series of games and drills that slowly increase in difficulty to compliment the young budding rider’s confidence.
Within our very first week it was great to see these young kids getting so much enjoyment out of cycling right from our first session. It’s not hard to see the sense of achievement on their beaming faces as they begin to master their bikes. After just one session a number of kids had, for the first time, pedaled their bikes without assistance, this is a huge compliment to this programme.
Our ultimate aim, once we successfully pilot the programme and tweak it as we go, is to see this rolled out across all of Southland. It’s a great first taste of our sport for local school children and just like swimming, running, jumping and throwing, it is a fundamental skill that we believe all Southland children should master.
Plus we might uncover a few new Tom Scully’s in the process.
Matt Archibald is Cycling Southland's Development Officer