Social enterprise Addventageous was set up by Charlene Bordley after she regained confidence as a returning cyclist later in life. She wanted other people to experience the same freedom that comes with being on two wheels. Now, every weekend, there are accredited cycling coaches available at Parramatta River foreshore to help teach basic bike skills to anyone who’d like to know.
“Addvantageous started as an adventure-based school holiday program, which then became active after-school activities as a government funded program,” says Bordley. “I wished someone had taught me how to ride a bike when I was younger so I went around the community and thought, oh my god, so many people don't know how to ride bikes.”
They use donated bicycles, which are available to hire (along with helmets) for $10-$15. They have a repair program to maintain their bike fleet, which is organised with help from disadvantaged youth programs to give teens new skills, and they have a bike library so that people within the community can pay a small fee to purchase the bicycle over time.
“For residents, it gives them an opportunity to learn to ride. For refugees and migrants it gives them accessability so they can move around their neighbourhood. From a visitors’ perspective, you can see more of Parramatta in a shorter amount of time.”
They offer discovery rides through Parramatta, so you can get to know the neighbourhood. “We led some rides to Lake Parramatta, for example. Families didn't even know the bike path existed, so it’s about educating people as to how easy it is to get around without a car.”