Bespoke solution to teens' inactivity


Hands-on: Nepean High School students Brittany Ford (left) and Abbey Blair assemble bikes as part of the Happiness Cycle, a community program aimed at getting 300 teens riding by offering free bikes.Picture: Gary Warrick

Hands-on: Nepean High School students Brittany Ford (left) and Abbey Blair assemble bikes as part of the Happiness Cycle, a community program aimed at getting 300 teens riding by offering free bikes.Picture: Gary Warrick

FREE bicycles were given to 260 teenagers at the Penrith PCYC on Tuesday.

They had to register with the Happiness Cycle program and earn the bikes by assembling them.

The Happiness Cycle, aimed at encouraging teenagers to be more active, was started by Coca-Cola, which has donated bikes to councils across Australia.

"It was created because only one in five Aussies aged 15 or 16 rides a bike at least once a week," a spokeswoman for the program said.

"The Happiness Cycle is also riding tandem with Bicycle Network, a not-for-profit community organisation aiming to get teenagers back on their bikes."

The Bicycle Network's general manager of behaviour change, Tess Allaway, said research showed that teens' physical activity sharply declined after the age of 15.

She said the program was about more than just giving bikes away.

"The bikes come only partially assembled so they have to put in a bit of work to get them together," Ms Allaway said.

"Part of this approach is to give the young people a sense of ownership of these bikes.

"They feel by doing this themselves, they've really earned them.

"They're also given apps so we can measure how much they improve their bike riding over the next few months."

She said they often discovered bike riding could be for almost anyone in any way.

"Teenagers can ride their bikes to get to school, they can use them to hang out with their friends and bikes are non-gender-specific; males and females can use them,

"Bike riding is also something we can all do to a great age."

She thanked Penrith PCYC and Penrith Council for their support.

"It was fantastic and we're really pleased with the Penrith turnout. Everyone had a good time and the council has been really great."

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