Bikes Palya recently returned from an epic four-week tour to all eight Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) schools and their adjoining communities.

The successful trip benefited the communities by repairing school bike fleets and teaching students about health, safety and bike maintenance and repair. Younger students had fun weaving through obstacle courses and practising basic bike skills while their older friends enjoyed leading community rides, learning about road safety and getting their hands dirty as bike mechanics.

Teachers appreciated the attention given to the school bike fleets and provision of curriculum resources that were developed with bike-related health, literacy, numeracy and skill-based activity ideas helping to keep bikes on the agenda while boosting the students’ education and development across the board.

After school, Bikes Palya hosted community bike clinics to provide much-needed access to tools and good-quality, cost-price parts. These sessions were incredibly successful, bringing people of all ages together to share and learn relevant practical skills. It was great to see young people building on the skills of past Bikes Palya clinics and mechanical workshops and especially wonderful to watch elders supporting the younger generations in being resourceful and fixing bikes together.

A highlight of each visit was the community bike race.  Prizes included Bikes Palya screen-printed t-shirts and $50 healthy food prizes thanks to sponsorship from Mai Wiru, which runs community-owned stores.

Bikes Palya has since launched the Be Healthy Challenge, an inter-school competition inviting all school communities to have fun increasing students’ use of their school bikes during and after school. The winning school will be announced by Bikes Palya Ambassador Zibeon Feilding at the upcoming Ernabella Dance and Sports Carnival in September.

This trip was made possible thanks to a Healthy Towns Challenge grant from SA Health.  We are thrilled to find out this week that two more Healthy Towns Challenge grant applications involving Bikes Palya were successful and will enable us to work with communities in Ceduna and Leigh Creek later this year.

By the numbers

Bikes Palya staff:

  • delivered 40 lessons in eight schools to 316 students;
  • checked, serviced and/or repaired 110 school bikes;
  • donated 10 bikes to Mimili Anangu School;
  • ran eight community bike races engaging 179 community members;
  • conducted 13 bike clinics involving 174 community members, fixing 44 community bikes;
  • travelled more than 4000km (and blew one trailer tyre); and
  • were inspired by the stunning scenery of the APY lands.