GEARED UP: Student Kesaia Mateo has been part of a program aimed at getting teens active and healthy by building and riding bikes.
GEARED UP: Student Kesaia Mateo has been part of a program aimed at getting teens active and healthy by building and riding bikes. Kate Czerny

Happiness Cycle has teens building and riding bikes

AN AUSTRALIA-WIDE program designed to help teenagers be more active rode into Ipswich on August 1.

The Happiness Cycle is part of the Learn, Earn, and Turn initiative from Bicycle Network that allows high school students to build, ride and then keep their own bicycles for free.

Kesaia Mateo is in grade 11 at Redbank Plains State High and was chosen to participate in a vocational training course that allowed her to help other school students out on the day.

"I'm loving it, I'm really happy I got chosen," she said.

"We're in a recreational sports class at school and we are doing bike riding so we came to this.

"We learned how to assemble a bike and how it all works."

The students from Redbank Plains, Bremer and Bundamba get to make the bicycles themselves, learn how they work and keep them afterwards.

"We got our bikes yesterday, I rode it as soon as I got home," Kesaia said.

"It's really fun, it's not just good for you but you get to meet new people too."

Sam Willoughby, program ambassador and current BMX World Champion, met the kids and supported the event.

"I started out the same as them riding in a car park," he said.

"This was an event that I planned to be a part of, I'm passionate about healthy living for teens.

"It's always great to hand bikes out and see the kids' faces, some of these kids have never had a bike before.

General Manager of Behavior Change at the Bicycle Network Tess Allaway said the exercise rate for teens drops dramatically in the later stages of high school.

"Today is part of a national initiative to increase the level of physical activity for teenagers," she said.

"Teenagers don't get enough physical activity, they should be getting 60 minutes of exercise a day.

"The bikes are good for transport, the kids can ride them to school or to their part-time job and they get exercise too."

For more information on The Happiness Cycle program visit happinesscycle.com.au



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