Ballarat pupils getting active after school

SCHOOL pupils are circuiting the cycling track as part of the Australian Sports Commission Active After-school Communities program in Ballarat. 

St James Parish School has partnered with the Ballarat Sebastopol Cycling Club to give kids the opportunity to get inolved with cycling. 

Australian Sports Commission regional co-ordinator Andrew Burgess said it was a pilot program linking schools into track cycling, giving kids the opportunity to try in a new sport. 

“The kids have grown so much in confidence over the program – they’re absolutely flying around the track now,” Burgess said. 

“It’s a fantastic sport where Australia has produced a lot of Olympians ... Hopefully we’ll see more kids get involved with the sport. 

“The club has been fantastic – they’re looking to purchase more bikes, pretty keen to see it evolve.’’

Grade 5 pupil Charlotte Rowe said cycling was now in her top three sports, after participating in the program for almost six weeks.

“Racing is the best part – you get to do it with all your friends, and getting to go up and down (the slopes) is really challenging,” Rowe said. 

Andrea Rowberry, grade 4, said the first time she rode she was scared and thought she would crash, but now loves it. 

“I never thought about cycling as a sport before – when I came down I thought I’d be riding a bike like (a child’s BMX bike),” Rowberry said. 

Instead, they have the opportunity to ride track bikes with no brakes. 

“We get to experience what real cyclists experience.” 

Ballarat Sebastopol Cycling Club president Phil Orr said it was great to see kids use their bikes and facilities.

“We purchased the bikes around two or three years ago with the intention of getting kids to participate in the sport,” Orr said. 

“We’re pretty excited to see kids on bikes.”