The Bike Safety and Maintenance Workshop


The Bike Safety and Maintenance Workshop at the Karkloof Conservation Centre – By Matthew Drew

Following the awarding of forty Coca-Cola branded Qhubeka bikes to top academic achievers and winners of programmes jointly managed by the Karkloof Conservancy and Wildlands Conservation Trust, a bike safety and maintenance workshop which took place on the 16th of March 2013 at the Karkloof Conservation Centre. The bikes were donated off the back of the 3 Cranes Big Day Out, a community event associated with the 3 Cranes Challenge, a running event held to raise funds for they endangered cranes of the Karkloof.

Although safety and good maintenance were the objectives of the workshop, it also highlighted the importance of collaboration between the organisations that care about the children in the Karkloof Valley. Wildlands Conservation Trust and Coca-Cola deserve a big thank you for implementing their wonderful programmes at Triandra, Yarrow, Hawkstone and Gartmore schools in the Karkloof. Members of the Karkloof Conservancy, Siphiwe Mjadu of the Wildlands Conservation Trust, Zodwa Maphanga of WESSA, Julia Colvin of the Midlands Meander Association Education Project (MMAEP), Grant Dinkel of Adrenaline Cycles and Derek Turvey of the Karkloof Mountain Bike Club then stepped forward to assist with the planning and facilitation of the workshop. Other volunteers from the Karkloof and surrounding communities also offered a helping hand.

It was evident that the children were extremely proud of their shiny bikes and that they were very pleased to be attending the workshop. Julia and Zodwa’s education skills made the safety section of the workshop fun and enjoyable. The children played interactive road signage games and staged a play involving various road users, which ensured they understood the responsibility of riding a bike on the road. The second session of the workshop focused on bike maintenance which again had a safety element as ensuring that a bike is in good working order also makes it safer to ride, but it also ensures that the lifespan of these valuable means of transport are prolonged. The children learnt how to fix a flat tire, clean and lubricate their bikes and repair a broken chain. Grant Dinkel’s expertise in this area were extremely valuable.

There were many lessons to be learnt by everyone, which made the day that much more successful and rewarding. Since this was the first safety and maintenance workshop held for these children, the assistants and facilitators all noted how things could be improved in future. For example, something that was overlooked was that some of the children had only just learnt how to ride a bicycle. This brings into consideration a broader range of safety issues.

The Karkloof Conservancy hopes to expand on this workshop in the future and have a formal support and development programme in place, involving safety and maintenance workshops and perhaps even the identification and training of children in the competitive mountain biking arena. Wouldn’t it be great to see cycling become not just a means of transport for the children of the Karkloof, but also a hobby which will provide them with hours of enjoyment and perhaps a chance of becoming the next great South African rider?

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