LEARNING to ride a bike is a classic rite of passage and a skill that, once acquired, is never forgotten.
And Ipswich now has the perfect place for youngsters to begin their two-wheeled adventure.
An off-road bicycle learning facility has been recently launched to give budding cyclists a chance to safely learn how to ride their bikes.
The facility, located at Sutton Park in Brassall, allows young riders to get all the experience of being on the road, without having to negotiate the dangers of the real thing.
The project was an expansion of the park's existing facility, with a safe course created for kids to practise riding and learn about road rules.
It includes a flat cul-de-sac for beginners to learn to mount and dismount as well as an overtaking lane, t-intersection, an intersection with signals, roundabout, one-way street, speed hump and an off-road track.
Young riders can also experience electronic LED traffic lights that can be set by a timer or activated by a pedestrian push button.
City infrastructure committee chairwoman Cr Cheryl Bromage, who was present at the launch last Saturday, said the council had worked with the 24/7 Cycling Safety Fund to develop the project.
She said it gave young cyclists the chance to experience the same conditions riders faced on the city's streets but in a safe, controlled environment.
"It is also located in close proximity to the Brassall bikeway which means people can ride along the bikeway to and from the bike learning facility," she said.
Safety fund president Troy Dobinson said the facility was a stepping stone towards his organisation's goal of providing a 2km safe cycling centre in Ipswich.
He said the bike road safety rules taught at the new Sutton Park facility would help young riders later in life when they eventually got behind the wheel of a car.
"It gives kids an understanding of how to give way, overtake safely and how to properly stop at a stop sign," he said.
"The facility will also help fight the region's obesity crisis, encouraging more people off the x-box and onto their bikes."
The project was completed in time for National Ride to School Day which takes place tomorrow.
Teach your kid to ride
- Start by teaching kids to ride in safe areas.
- Braking should be taught as early as possible.
- Teach one skill at a time.
- When the child has mastered the basic skills in a safe area, go for a ride on the footpath with them.