Share The Ride
Sharing our passion for mountain bike riding with Rotorua tamariki and their families.
Together with Mountain Bike Rotorua, Kiwi Sport Major Project Funding, Sport Bay of Plenty Tu Manawa Major Funding and the Rotorua Lakes Council Te Takau Tu Pakari Funding, the club has been running Share The Ride since 2019.
The goal of Share The Ride is to give more Rotorua children the chance to learn to ride in the Whakarewarewa Forest, and to encourage children from diverse backgrounds to become physically active through mountain biking.
How nominations are made
Children are nominated by local schools and organisations which have been approached by members of the club and Mountain Bike Rotorua.
The nominations are based on the background of the children, including their social demographic and educational needs. The team then selects the children most likely to benefit from Share The Ride and liaises with their families to organise the logistics.
Each year, at least 10 children and their whanau are selected to take part in Share The Ride.
How does the programme work?
Share The Ride is run over a 10 week period. The children and their whanau are provided with free, top-quality hire bikes and helmets from Mountain Bike Rotorua for the duration of the programme.
When planning the programme, our coaches engage and consult with the children involved to ensure it will meet their individual needs. Some children will need to be taught to ride a bike from scratch (one-on-one tuition is provided) while other children need to be challenged and extended to improve their mountain biking skills.
Experienced coaches from Mountain Bike Rotorua and the community help the children to learn:
- Biking skills
- The history of the forest
- Bike maintenance
- How to ride a range of mountain bike trails
During the duration of the program, the participants become familiar with the forest, its trails and the facilities available. They also get the valuable opportunity to socialise with a mix of people.
Share the Ride Award
At the completion of the programme, and in recognition of their dedication, the children are awarded:
- A brand new Giant mountain bike
- A helmet
- Another bike is also given to one whanau member per child, so they are able to go riding in the forest together after the programme is finished.
Why was Share The Ride created?
Learning to ride a bike inspires a sense of freedom and independence. It provides a child with a rewarding self-guided activity and a feeling of accomplishment that boosts self-esteem and shows that anything is possible if you work at it.
We are aware that the lack of access to equipment and familiarity with the forest trail network, are barriers that prevent some children from participating in mountain biking.
This programme aims to address these barriers. Mountain Bike Rotorua provides all the equipment necessary for full participation.
The group usually consists of a broad range of ages and ability levels, and everyone supports each other, which is part of the culture that is encouraged.
What does the programme achieve?
In Rotorua, it may seem that everyone owns mountain bikes, but actually the demographic enjoying the experience is quite narrow. ‘Share the Ride’ makes it possible to reach out further into the wider community, cultivating growth at the grass roots.
- Share The Ride develops mountain biking skills in a natural environment
- The tamariki/rangatahi/whanau find enthusiasm for exercise during the course of the programme, and as a result their physical fitness improves
- Access to good quality bikes for participants removes the main barrier to participation in mountain biking
- Tamariki are able to bike to school and leisure activities; it gives them an independent mode of transport to enable them to participate in other activities.
- Support is given to participating families to encourage them to use their new-found skills in their day-to-day lives and to continue to use the forest to apply their new learnings.
- Many participant families have gone on to make mountain biking a regular part of their life.
Share The Ride Values
Mountain Bike Rotorua deliver the programme and holds strong values of:
This influences everyone involved - from clients to crew.
The club sees these values reflected by all who participate in the programme.
The specific needs of girls and young women are met by providing female coaches and mentors and many of them are accompanied by mothers or grandmothers.
The coaching sessions are developed to meet the requirements and challenges of every participant, and having a structure suitable for young women is inherent.