St As at the Perth City Criterium Bike Festival

Lindi Harding
St Augustine's School

On March 12th 2023 WestCycle and AusCycle hosted a bike festival and race in the heart of Northbridge. To help develop a further love of riding in our students, I promoted the event on our P & F facebook page.

We had at least one student from every class in Years 1 to 5 sign up for the Jump Coaching sessions and one of our students signed up to race in the Junior Under 13 category.

Leading up to the event, WestCycle promoted the event further by offering free ice creams for anyone who dressed up their bikes and medals for all particpants in a community ride of the racecourse. I posted the new information to the P & F page, suggesting that families use the train to take their bikes into the city.

At the festival the students all met up near the jump coaching pillow. First on the agenda for the days was to cheer on one of St Augustine's Year 5s in the criterium race.

The year 5 gave his school mates a good performance in return for their cheering. After 7 laps of the course racing neck and neck, he sprinted out of the last corner to claim victory against his competitors.

After the excitement of the race, the students were hungry for ice cream. They were delighted to receive their ice cream vouchers for dressing up their bikes.

After filling up with ice cream the group moved onto the jump coaching (in hindsight this was maybe not the best order of events...) The ramp was ENORMOUS, and even some of our most daredevil students were immediately put off, but the youngest of our group had a go, and even though he struggled, he kept on persisting and with the help of the coaches he finally got some air and cleared the jump. One of the Year 3 boys rode the jump over and over non stop for the entire hour long session.

After the jump coaching session, we took a break (well.. the adults took a break, the children played on their bikes riding around Russell Square) to watch the racing. But, it wasn't long before the next activity - the community ride. Our students had an absolute blast in the community ride. They sped around the course as quickly as they could, inspired I'm sure by the win from their school mate earlier in the day. After a few more laps of the course in the community ride, he retired for the day and was awarded the privilege of ringing the bell to signal the last lap.

Each community ride participant received a medal and proudly displayed it for a photo opportunity upon the podium.

Many of the group stayed to watch the main event races, and the children were entertained by a free ball throwing competition to win bottles of water and snacks. At the end of the evening after the presentations on the main stage I asked the children is anyone wanted to ride home with me, rather than catch the train or get a lift in a car. I was incredibly surprised any of them had any energy left, but 3 of them did, so we rode the 7 kms as a group back to Rivervale (dodging Ed Sheran fans on the PSP past the stadium).

One of the boys said to me 'this was the best day ever, but I am soooo tired' and another child was already asking me if I knew when the next event will be. One Mum told me her son slept with his medal and would not stop talking about the day the next morning.

On Monday morning I saw that most of the children were wearing their medals proudly around their necks on their ride to school, ready to show and tell their friends about their Bike Festival adventure. Great work WestCycle and AusCycle, you managed to hit the mark to get more kids even more excited about riding bikes!

In response to the question about the next bike event, we'll be encouraging our students to attend the WA Cyclocross Party in the Park at Perry Lakes on 26th March 2023 .

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Emma Jack (Your Move)

Wow Lindi! What a ripper of an experience for the kids 🚲! My heart is radiating with joy reading your story. What a gift for all. Thank you for spreading your enthusiasm and sharing the tale 🌈 That's 40 points for Participate in an active travel event and 20 bonus points for an outstanding effort.

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