“You have no idea what this means,” were the first words Vernon Hendricks, principal at the Firgrove Primary School, said last week when the school received fifteen brand-new bicycles and helmets from the Pedal Power Association (PPA).
“As a school we want to develop cycling as a way of life where parents and learners can see that cycling can be safe and healthy,” Hendricks said.
“We want to provide training to learners so that they can understand that they are responsible for their own safety. Eventually we would like them to also participate in some events, so that they can learn that cycling is healthy and fun too.”
The target group includes learners from Grades 4 to 7 and will include, where possible, parents as well. While the bicycles will be used to establish a healthy way of living, it will also assist to establish cycling as a means of transport.
“The school serves a community where the parents cannot afford bicycles or support an initiative like this financially,” said PPA Chairman Steve Hayward. “We are delighted that we can assist in this way.”
Founded in 1976, the PPA is a Public Benefit Organisation committed to promote cycling and the interests of cyclists. Their influence and interest spans across recreational road and off-road cycling events and initiatives; supporting cycling community projects; lobbying for the interests of cyclists’ safety and rights; assisting communities to develop through cycling; and encouraging our youth to cycle. The Association uses their profit-share received from the annual Cape Town Cycle Tour to support cycling-related initiatives like this one.
According to the school principal, two retired teachers will assist after hours and over holidays with the new cycling programme, while local cycle dealer Replay Cycles will provide monthly bicycle maintenance and teach the learners basic bicycle maintenance.
“I think we’ll need more bicycles soon,” Hendricks concluded. “Everyone now wants to be a part of this programme!”