Bicycle Network got the good news last week that the government has agreed to fund a new program it has proposed, aimed at getting more people riding again in Tasmania.
The Back on your Bike concept is designed for people who know how to ride but haven’t done so for some years and have lost their confidence.
Bicycle Network applied to the Healthy Tasmania grants program for 18 months of funding to get the program up and running across the state.
The idea emerged after we ran several e-bike expos at Hobart’s Regatta Grounds at which hundreds of people visited to test ride a wide range of e-bikes.
Amidst all the enthusiasm for e-bikes we were approached by people at each expo who wanted to get an e-bike but were nervous about riding again as they hadn’t done so for many years. They were looking for a basic program that would remind them how to brake properly, signal, use gears, and relevant road rules and tips for riders.
At the same time, we were approached by a couple of local councils who were applying for Healthy Tasmania grants in the last round of funding looking for an instructor to deliver basic bike riding tuition.
We realised there was need in the community for this sort of help to get riding again and so put in our own application for this recent round of grant funding.
Working with local councils
Part of our success in receiving the grant was support from many local councils across the state, who we want to partner with to deliver the program.
Councils are looking for ways to help their communities attain and retain good physical and mental health and bike riding ticks those boxes.
The idea is that councils will promote the program through their networks and provide local advice on best riding roues, and we’ll come in and deliver the rider training sessions, including a group social ride in the area.
The concept is based on successful pilots we have run recently for a Ride2Uni program and a one-off program organised by TasTAFE to help its English students learn about riding in Tasmania and give them the skills they need to get started.
We are aiming to have the first sessions delivered in Spring this year, with most sessions scheduled for the warmer, dryer months. There will be a small fee to register and participate in the sessions but there is also funding to help people who can’t afford this.
We will be recruiting a team member to help us design and deliver the Back on your Bike program, so if you know someone with a background in designing and delivering training/teaching programs who loves the thought of helping Tasmanians get back on their bikes, is super organised and willing to travel around the state, let them know!