Voices

Bike Sweet February 2017 (2)

10 YOUTHS AND 2 WHEELS – How learning to safely ride a motorbike can change lives

ECLP Communities First teamed up with Foreshore MXC and South wales Police to run a bike programme with aim of showing alternatives to riding on the streets.

Ten young people participated in six full day sessions to learn bike safety and maintenance and how to run a motocross track.  Sessions took place at Cardiff Motocross Track off Rover Way with transport from Llanedeyrn Powerhouse.

This track is the only place in Cardiff where it is legal to ride off-road bikes.  Each day began with a 1 ½ hour theory session including bike and track safety and bike mechanics.  In these sessions, participants learned the roles involved in running a legal bike track.  They participated as bike track volunteers, checking in other bike track members and performing safety checks on their bikes as well as marshalling on the bike track.

Participants learning about bike maintainence

Participants learning about bike maintenance

After lunch, they had sessions on risky behaviour including drug/alcohol risks and fire and fuel safety.  One powerful session included a crimes and consequences workshop delivered by WRAP in which a person on parole from a life sentence spoke about the way that his decisions in his youth affected his and his family’s life.  One participant’s brother is currently incarcerated and she shared with the group how this has affected her life.

The highlight of each day was two hours of track time to improve their bike riding skills.  Young people were provided with all safety equipment and motorbikes.  The motorcycle tutor is a previous champion motocross rider and their skills showed great improvement over the series.  After two weeks, the group graduated from the “junior track” to the big track.

Bike Sweet Feb 2017 (6)

The aim of Bike Sweet was to emphasise the risks of riding illegally and present them with the only legal option for riding off-road bikes in Cardiff. The future goal is to keep the young people involved as volunteers in the Off-Road bike track.

Soon, the track will be open to the public on weekends and the track manager had agreed that if the Bike Sweet participants volunteer for two days, they receive one day of track riding and use of a motorbike.  (A value of at least £120 at most tracks.) All of the partners agreed the Bike Programme series was a massive success.

All of the participants agreed the project was very good or excellent.

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What did we achieve?

This project was particularly successful because we were able to engage the right young people and offer content/activities that motivated them.  As a group, they enjoy riding bikes very much and were enthralled by the possibility to ride on a real motocross track.  By scheduling the bike time at the end of each day, we were able to use that as a motivating factor for the kids to engage with the bike safety and mechanics components of the sessions.

The project was well-staffed with a total of 4-5 staff/volunteers to 10 participants, as such the participants got the support that they needed to complete the programme successfully.

Even the Bike Track has benefited from this project.  Although used for various community programmes at the weekends, the track has not been used to its full potential. This project allowed the bike track to be open to the public on Saturdays and also resulted in attention from Cardiff Council. In fact, it has just been awarded £1,000 from Cardiff Council Academy to put towards re-development efforts, one small step towards maintaining the facility in the public realm.

Get in contact

To find out more about projects like these or to tell us your ideas you can get in contact via

Email: Eclp@c3sc.org.uk

Phone: 02920 778128

Facebook: ECLP Communities First

Twitter: @ECLPCF