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.
The project began with seeing a need in the youth space and is at the heart of Biketec. There are two sides to the youth development model of Biketec: introducing cycling as a healthy recreational activity and engaging youth with their community through this, and youth training and qualification in the field of bike building, repair and maintenance.
Cycling is a sport and leisure activity with numerous health benefits and an active and supportive community. It’s also a practical and economical way of getting around, particularly for young people without the budget for a car. By engaging with young people and teaching them cycle skills, we open them up to a new skill, a sense of belonging and self-worth. Biketec could supply schools with a bike library of their own a low-cost and healthy form of transport to pursue education, employment and leisure opportunities.
Biketec is also an avenue for training and qualification in the mechanical skills of bike building and repair. Biketec has a regular volunteer staff, qualified to NZ industry standard, ready and keen to teach and mentor young people in cycle mechanics and related engineering. This training could lead to young people gaining NZQA credits in cycle mechanics and opens pathways for further training and employment in mechanical trades.
It is envisaged that the young people who train with us to become competent cycle technicians will get opportunities to use their new skills in the local bike shops as a part of their training and this is also a pathway to employment for the trainees.
We also envisage assisting schools with young students who are keen to compete in cycle related competitions by loaning the school cycles that they can use for competition both road and trail we have already assisted with Cyclo-cross events in 2014 as we built a small fleet of cross bikes and offered them to the organiser of the events. We have built several road bikes and will continue to add to this library as the need arises.
The environmental benefits of Biketek are obvious. By diverting and repairing bikes that would otherwise be thrown away, Biketec could save hundreds of tonnes from landfills each year. By promoting cycling as an alternative transport option we are contributing to the push to get New Zealanders out of cars and lower carbon emissions. Biketec goes further than most and actively enables people to make this choice by supplying quality recycled machines at no cost thanks to donations and volunteer and apprentice labour.
We have worked closely with the Eco Sustainability Team at Hutt City Council on a number of initiatives and have even supplied custom built, top quality recycled bikes as prizes for local eco initiatives.
Biketec promotes healthy living and lifestyles, not just to youth but to the whole community. We’re passionate about cycling for leisure and sport and keen to promote it as a practical and enjoyable way to get fit and stay fit. Safe cycling in its various forms whether on the road or on a trail is a great way to introduce people to the outdoors and the opportunities in their community. Our programmes tie in well with school classes on healthy lifestyles and we have run a number of successful workshops with this approach. There are many opportunities for Biketec to run events, bike rides and workshops to promote and provide paths to healthier lifestyles.
Community makes Biketec possible, and Biketec gives back to the community. The project is built on members of the cycling community volunteering their time to make positive changes in people’s lives through their sport. The community gains knowledge and a valuable resource that can be used to create positive outcomes in the youth, environment and health spaces.
The community benefits are substantial. One of the most visible is Biketec mechanics running ‘Bike Fix-Ups’ either in their own right or as part of community events. The initial Biketec hub as run many of these successful workshops, with partners including local schools, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Hutt City Council. This is a great way for members of the public to take advantage of the skills and tools available through Biketec, and for Biketec to spread the word about safe cycles and healthy living.
There are numerous other potential opportunities for Biketec to get involved in community partnerships. These include involvement in sustainability initiatives, bike repair lessons, promotion of cycling as a destination tourism opportunity and partnerships to run cafes at local cycle trails to create a focal point for the local cycling community.
With the vision of creating container-based community hubs there are opportunities for local Biketec groups to learn from each other and grow into a sustainable and thriving business.