• Port Macquarie children get put through the riding skills test at CA's Let's Ride (Cycling Australia)Source: Cycling Australia
Remember your first bike? Recall the sense of freedom that you had as a youngster with your own means of fun and transport? Cycling Australia (CA) is setting out to make sure that a new generation of kids have the opportunity to have the same experience through 'Let's Ride'.
Jamie Finch-Penninger

Cycling Australia
26 May 2016 - 12:49 PM  UPDATED 26 May 2016 - 12:54 PM

Annette Edmondson, world champion track cyclist and Commonwealth Games gold medallist was present at the launch of the 'Ride for Life' program at Burnside Primary School in her home city of Adelaide. 'Ride for Life' adds teaching resources and lesson plans to operate in partnership with the 'Let's Ride' program, which has been running since February.

"Learning to ride isn’t just about putting on a helmet and taking off the training wheels," said Edmondson. "Kids need to be taught how to assess risks and react appropriately. That’s why Let’s Ride and the ‘Ride for Life’ resources are so important, they’re teaching our kids how to be responsible and safe at a time in their lives when they’re looking for independence."

The Let's Ride program will target 8-12 year olds (Years 3-6) with after school programs run by CA-accredited instructors. The focus will be to take the students through courses aimed at increasing skills, knowledge and confidence on the bike. This will lead through the participants through the basics of bike-handling to low-level traffic situational awareness and safety. 

Some key stats:

  • 2500 participants since Let's Ride launch in February 2016
  • Aiming for 7,500-10,000 participants in the first year
  • 50+ Delivery Centres nationwide, operating in every state and territory

Fundamentally the program aims to support kids in their independence and provide parents with piece of mind. Let's Ride has been designed to bridge the gap between learning to ride and learning to ride safely and responsibly whilst other aspects of the initiative will see cycling brought into the classroom.

"A national curriculum (Ride for Life) has just been launched which is designed to ensure one standard curriculum across the country," said Kieran Donohue, Let's Ride program manager. "There are still some minor differences from state to state, but essentially these resources should meet the needs of all teachers around the country."

With teaching resources being provided to complement the Health and Physical Education, Geography and Science curriculums by CA, the idea is for teachers to be easily able to use cycling as a viable part of the learning experience.

With safety concerns of parents enough to keep children off bikes, it is good to see an initiative from CA that looks to grow cycling at a grass roots level and allow more to get into the recreational and sporting side of it from a younger age.

There are some apparent teething issues with the Let's Ride website, which have been acknowledged and are being fixed by CA. The biggest problem is the lack of options through the program finder, which currently lists only a small number of courses, even in major metropolitan areas (one in Sydney and three in Melbourne). As a growing program, both participants and organisers will no doubt be hoping that the initiative expands rapidly from here.