• The Mums on bikes program at Galiwin'ku has quickly grown into a bush bicycle convoy (Guy McLean (NITV News))Source: Guy McLean (NITV News)
Young mums and their families take over the streets of Galiwin’ku three nights a week and the peloton just keeps getting bigger.
By
Guy McLean

Source:
NITV News
10 May 2022 - 5:18 PM  UPDATED 10 May 2022 - 5:31 PM

A remote island off the Arnhem Land coast is in the grip of a cycling craze, thanks to the donation of more than 100 bikes.

At Galiwin’ku on remote Elcho Island, a two-wheel revolution is quickly gaining momentum as a group of young mums on bikes takes to the red dirt roads on regular rides.

Among the convoy is young Yolngu mum and first time rider Zelda Dhamarrandji, with children in tow.

"I’m a mother of two sons and it is a great opportunity for young people to enjoy and get interested in like other fun activities," she said.

Mums on Bikes was the brainchild of Belinda Morton, an early childhood educator who lives in the community.

A trial run last year saw a handful of mothers riding bikes around the community, but the bikes were soon stolen and vandalized.

A plea for assistance on social media prompted a flood of bike donations, along with the gifting of a sea container to store them.

Since the new bikes arrived, the number of mums and children taking to the streets has quickly grown.

"I guess it’s something that was previously seen as a kids’ activity but this is about exercising and socializing but also just a joyous group activity," Ms Morton said. 

"[It provides] freedom as well as pride. It's the kids hanging out the window of the bus going 'go mum' and the kids being able to see their mums doing something for themselves and having fun.

"I sometimes worry that the mums are going to have an accident while they're taking selfies but that's the thing, a lot of them are young mums, they're loving it, they're loving themselves, they're posting photos and stories of each other." 

Fun for all the family

Sherilyn Dhamarrandji said regular rides were providing a sense of togetherness for local mums. 

"(I am) riding with my sister’s granddaughter and I loved it. It’s great to be around with other mothers as well, yeah, and be part of it."

It’s not just young mums getting to feel the wind in their hair. Young fathers like James Goandarra are also peddling an important message.

"This is good for young dads and good for the little kids. [It's] more communicating and more motivating and empowering our little ones...

"I want more young dads to come down with their kids and go riding."

While Mums on Bikes was set up to create a social and recreation outlet for young mums and their families in the community, the program is also delivering other benefits.

"For a lot of the mums they’ve realized through jumping on a bike that maybe they’re a bit unfit, and maybe impacted by smoking," Ms Morton said. 

"So a few of them have said 'I’m going to cut down' or 'I’m going to quit.'" 

A recent influx of teenage boys keen to ride bikes has also seen plans put in place to start a young men’s riding group.

A delivery of mountain bikes and BMXs from Western Australia is pending. 

This remote community is on a roll. 

Meet the Gomeroi health expert reversing disease and changing lives
Type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing disease in Australia but Indigenous exercise physiologist Ray Kelly believes it doesn’t have to be that way.