What is Biketec?
Biketec is a programme that integrates youth development, health and education with environmental principles and community involvement. The programme gives young people the opportunity to learn to safely ride and maintain a bicycle with the health benefits that that entails, returns otherwise rubbished bikes to service and is a valuable community service with teams of people coming together to ride and maintain bikes.
Biketec is a four-faceted idea – we call them the ‘links in the chain’. The links are Youth, Environment, Health and Community. Each link benefits from and contributes to the others.
- Enable young people to gain access to quality re-cycled cycles with the purpose of promoting cycles as a mode of transport and recreation to the younger generations
- Build a full-circle sustainable business that can survive in the market through resourceful pathways and likeminded partnerships
- Provide opportunities for young people to gain knowledge and a recognised qualification in cycle mechanics that can lead to employment
- Build a team or teams of bicycle mechanics that will work as a team to fix machines in schools and teach Biketec principles to students
- Partner with other agencies and groups with similar goals including training young people in cycle road craft with the aim to provide a complete full circle community cycle service
- Promote cycling as a healthy alternative mode of transport and sport to young people and to assist in making this option affordable, including but not limited to engaging schools and learning organisations.
Youth Wise Trust has been running youth related programs and Hutt Valley’s premier youth space for 11 years in the Hutt City. Biketec began when manager Simon Gilbert realised through his work that many young people were not attending school and related activities because they could not get to school. Many more young people were not interested in cycling as a sport because they either can’t afford a bike or they didn’t know what was available to do in their city. Simon, a keen competition cyclist for some 36 years realised that bikes were a workable answer to this problem and set about making cycles for young people. This drew the attention of a number of local cyclists and suppliers who were keen to use their skills to support the cause. Attracted by the eco sustainability and recycling aspects, Hutt City Council’s environmental sustainability team also came on board.
The programme has gone from strength to strength and now has a stock of twenty bikes for teenagers and ten for primary school students. These are stored in a shipping container workshop near to the local bike trail park, ready for action! Our activities have broadened into education and we are regularly asked to teach young people basic bike skills as part of road safety programmes and we are excited about passing on our passion for bikes to a new generation.
The first Biketec project in Wainuiomata as proved the format to be successful and popular with the various stakeholders. The fact that the programme operates out of compact, self contained and readily available shipping containers means that local communities can run their own self-contained ‘hubs’ . Our vision is to extend Biketec to any community in New Zealand that wants to take it on, to bring skills and healthy living to young people while promoting eco sustainability.