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AustCycle. Skills, Confidence, Safety.
General Manager Welcome

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2013!

It has been a busy and successful start to the year and this month we conducted the first AustCycle Skills Coach training course in Western Australia.

The new one-day course precedes the AustCycle Teacher Accreditation Program (ATAP) Level 1 course and has been designed to assist Skills Coaches teach both children and adults to develop cycling skills in traffic free and low traffic environments.

Delivered to a full audience, the course received positive feedback about the time spent practically learning, providing teaching points, facilitating activities and planning sessions. We have begun planning the roll out of courses nationally so stay tuned for dates and locations.

Few education programs offer so much for so many, yet AustCycle offers programs from cradle to the grave, teaching children as young as 2-3 years old right through to older Australians. In fact, 1 in every 5 adults trained through AustCycle are aged 60 years or older.


We are incredibly fortunate to have a group of passionate Teachers all with a common goal - to help others enjoy cycling as much as they do. And with more accredited Teachers and Skill Coaches around Australia, more community members are benefiting from AustCycle programs. Below is just a small snapshot of what’s happening with our cycle training. 

I hope you enjoy this edition and if you aren't already planning a ride over the Easter break then I hope the stories below help inspire you to find time to get back on your bike.

AustCycle News

AustCycle Accreditation Cards


If you’re an AustCycle Teacher or Skills Coach you should have received your 2013 AustCycle accreditation card recently.

If you haven't yet received your card, it may be because you need to update some documentation, such as your First Aid or Working With Children Check. Once these updated documents are on file with AustCycle your card will be issued. 

If you have any questions relating to your accreditation or card please email education@austcycle.com.au.


Auburn's Healthy Communities Initiative


If you’ve ever wondered just how much the Healthy Communities Initiative is changing lives, then you need to watch the video created by Auburn City Council. 

Every Wednesday at the Auburn Centre for Community, free cycling classes are run by AustCycle Provider Ian Watson Ride School.

The classes are open for anyone to attend and are designed for those who have never ridden a bike before or who simply want to improve their riding skills so that they can use a bike as a form of active transport.

Over consecutive weeks participants gain the skills and confidence to improve their bike handling skills, helping them to change their lives for the better.

(Click the link below to be taken to the video)

> Read more


How an AustCycle course changed a life


If anyone can attest to how an AustCycle course can change your life, that person would be Hazel Mack.

Since completing an AustCycle course in South Australia through Provider Ride-a-Bike Right, Hazel has been experiencing both mental and physical benefits, which she says have been spring boarding in to other areas of her life, including a 5kg weight loss and a growing interest in nutrition.

Read more


Kids get back on their bikes in Westmead


Many of the students who attend the Active After-school Communities (AASC) program at the Centre at Westmead have never ridden a bike before. But, thanks to AustCycle Provider Addventageous these kids have been able to learn the skills needed to ride.

One of the younger boys who attended the AustCycle training could not ride at all at the start of the classes. Now not only is he riding with training wheels in the active after school program, but his father has purchased him a bike of his own and they both now attend Parramatta Park to ride together on weekends.

Read more


Veteran-touring cyclist masters the left hand side of the road in Fraser Coast


For some people, learning how to balance is the hardest thing to master when getting back on a bike. But for one Hervey Bay resident, riding on the left hand side of the road turned out to be the biggest challenge.

George is a veteran-touring cyclist who rode all throughout Europe as a young boy. His most impressive achievement was cycling 15,000km in 5 months, clocking between 100km and 160km each day.

> Read more


Women in Victoria take to their bikes


Victoria has seen a surge in the number of women cycling lately, thanks to a huge number of women’s only cycling courses being run by AustCycle Provider Wheel Women.

Provider and Teacher Tina McCarthy said that there is a very large number of women who want to ride, but who feel intimidated by the prospect of cycling, especially sharing the road.

“I have been totally inundated with women telling me the same thing. They can’t change a flat, they don’t feel confident and they just want to feel safe”.

Read more


Pre-schoolers in Lismore learn to ride for the first time


Bike riding in Lismore is taking off, with both adults and kids reaping the benefits of cycle training from AustCycle Provider Just Ride Cycles. Even pre-schoolers in the region aren’t missing out, with two groups going through just last week.

Rachel Sipple, accredited Teacher and owner of Just Ride Cycles, said some of the kids had never been on a bike before but seemed to be progressing nicely.

“I think they had a lot of fun. We did a lot of basic skills like can you ride between two cones, can you take a hand off and hover it over the handlebars”.

> Read more


Darwin residents begin AustCycle training


AustCycle courses have begun in Darwin recently, with accredited Teacher Ian Symonds working on getting local residents healthy and active.

“My first session was with a lady who has only successfully ridden a tricycle. We set up the bike without pedals to simulate a balance bike and we made some progress, however more time and practice is needed”.

“In the next session the lady who attended made excellent progress, going from being nervous and unsteady, and not being able to correctly mount the bike”.

Read more


Kids AustCycle program wheely popular


Cycling WA has been delivering AustCycle training to kids at Beachlands Primary School in Geraldton, Western Australia.

The Active After-school Communities (AASC) cycling program is run two days a week, and numbers doubled from the first to second session.

AustCycle Teacher Stephanie Essex told the Geraldton Guardian that the seven-week cycling skills course covers basic bike handling skills, safety and maintenance.

Read more


Provider Profile

Guyra Shire Council

Guyra Shire Council has recently come on board as an AustCycle Provider, running courses as part of the Healthy Highlander Initiative, and already they have been making a big difference.

David Harris, who is the current Australian Champion in the All Mountain Cup Series, is running the AustCycle classes, and they are open to adults of any skill level.


Each week participants get to test their riding skills in a friendly group environment and bikes are supplied so that everyone can partake.

Healthy Highlander Coordinator Stephen Griffith said the program has been very successful so far, with the participants loving the AustCycle funded helmets that have been given out.

The aim of the program is to encourage more people in the Guyra community to get physically active, so if you are looking to get back on a bike, contact Stephen on 0418 861 532.

Provider News

Wheel Women wins Woman of Change Award!

AustCycle would like to congratulate Tina McCarthy at Wheel Women for winning the Women of Change award!

Three women recently received awards from Cycling Victoria in recognition of their contribution to the sport and the positive impact they have had on women’s cycling.

> More

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Other News
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Cycle training in the ACT helps change lives

AustCycle Provider Cycle Education has been busy making sure ACT residents get back on their bikes, using the HCI helmet incentive to help participants change their lives.

AustCycle has continued its helmet initiative to support participants within the Healthy Communities Initiative to get back on a bike. And in the ACT, these helmets are being put to good use.

> Read more

Other News

Top tips for teaching a child to ride

This month, accredited AustCycle Teachers and Providers Gay Chandler and Ian Watson give their top tips on how to get a child riding safely and confidently.

Invest in a balance bike. Balance bikes are low to the ground bicycles that don’t have any pedals or training wheels. Instead of pedals, children use their feet to scoot along the ground, developing a natural ability to stay balanced. Balance bikes also help teach the fundamental skills of bike control.

Practice.  A balance bike can be used in any situation, indoor or out, so encourage your child to scoot along beside you when you walk the dog or go to the park. Typically a child will move from walking with the bike underneath them, perhaps not even in the saddle, to walking while seated, to a little bit of rolling forward, to a one foot shuffle, to a two-foot run/walk/shuffle, and then on to balanced coasting with two-foot propulsion. The more they practice, the faster they will learn.

Take the pedals off a regular bike. Convert a pedal bike into a balance bike by removing the pedals and dropping the saddle so your child can place their feet flat on the ground. This is a great way to get kids used to the feel of the bike they will be progressing to and also allows them to learn about braking and steering.

Add in pedals. Once the child has mastered balancing and is comfortable on their bike try adding the pedals back on and advancing them to riding a proper bicycle. Play games with the child to encourage them to make circles with their legs, teaching them the pedalling movement. Once you have the pedals on, Gay suggests you position your hand gently on the back on the child to help them feel at ease. But she warns parents off touching the handlebar, explaining that children need to build balance and muscle.

Use gentle hills. Start at the top and let the child roll down, but first ensure they know how to brake and stop.

Get rid of the parent. Gay and Ian are quite firm about sending the parent away and getting someone in who knows what they’re doing, saying that often parents get nervous and uptight. Kids also play to their parent’s emotions and the whole experience can be quite taxing on both parent and child, yet surprisingly, kids often try a lot harder and work a lot better for an impartial party.

Be a role model. Remember to be a good example. If you want your child to ride, ride with them and be a good role model.

Finally, be patient. Each child is different so remember to be patient. Once a child gets tired, stop, because if they get really tired they are going to have more spills. Gay also stresses that it is important to end on a really positive note so the child will want to come back and try again.


Being able to ride a bicycle can be critical to a child’s physical health, emotional health, independence and social wellbeing. Yet in Australia, the number of children who are riding is still quite low, with statistics showing that only 6 in every 10 children ride a bike.

Currently, 63% of children aged 5 to 9 ride in a typical week and while numbers have been rising in recent years, the percentage is still lower than it was seven years ago.

In 2006, 73.4% of boys and 61.9% of girls were riding bikes. In 2009 this dropped to 66.1% for boys and 54.4% for girls, but rose last year to 69.9% and 56.8% respectively.

In Australia it is also uncommon to see a child ride to school. According to an Age article last year, 59% of kids are driven to school, 25% walk, 21% use public transport and only 11% cycle (ie. only 1 in every 10).

Yet in comparison, 96% of school children in Copenhagen have a bicycle and 55% cycle to school on a regular basis. 


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