THE saying “get on your bike” isn’t an insult at Batlow Technology School.
A group of students, ranging from year 7 to 11, and teachers returned on Friday from Sydney, where they built, rode and took possession of mountain bikes, as part of the “Happiness Cycle”, a program developed by the Bicycle Network and financed by Coca Cola.
School principal Greg Hodge, a keen mountain bike rider, heard about the program got the appreciative and enthusiastic students.
“The program is for disadvantaged students, and we are considered disadvantaged due to our isolation, and lack of sporting facilities in Batlow,” he said.
“The students get a mountain bike, but they have to maintain the bike and ride it for so many kilometres a week, and this is recorded in an online diary. We were the only school from our region to take part.”
Forty-five of the students, from year 7 to 12, received free bikes, and the year 7 to 11 students went to Sydney to pick them up this week.
“We thought that as we were going to Sydney, we should make a proper trip of it,” Mr Hodge said.
The students assembled the bikes at Fairfield Showground, and underwent a riding skills and safety course.
“We also went and saw the theatre production of Aladdin, which was fantastic; the kids were raving about it..”
They also went to the NSW Art Gallery, visited Circular Quay and other Sydney landmarks and had dinner at Chinatown.
“For many it was their first time in the city,” Mr Hodge said.
“We were all rapt and I hope it is something they will all remember from their school years.”
The bikes were freighted back to Batlow for free by Adelong Toll, and all safety equipment, including helmets, were included in the package. Mountain biking has been included in the school’s curriculum and Mr Hodge is hopeful the students will continue to take to it with gusto.
“There are some great mountain biking areas around here, so I’m looking forward to the kids enjoying it,” he said.
“Hopefully in 2017 we will be able to take part in a mountain bike challenge.”