For many kids, getting up and going to school can be a real drag. For students at Mareeba State School in Far North Queensland, it’s one of the highlights of their day thanks to Chappy Tim and his Bikebus.
The Education Queensland approved ‘service’ runs twice a week, follows council-approved routes, and picks up 30 kids on the way to school. Students can join the pack of riders at any time, and the group is accompanied by teachers, parents and grandparents.
Tim’s initiative has quickly become a community affair. Even the local police have joined in!
“The Bikebus began after speaking with a few students who wanted to do more with bikes. I thought this was a great way to get students excited to go to school and build a sense of community,” says Chappy Tim.
“It’s only been running since halfway through 2019, but already I’ve seen a difference around the school. Students are making friends with kids they met on the Bikebus, and are gaining new skills.”
“Community is important and I wanted to run something that everyone can get involved in. We even have some local organisations who provide muesli bars, water and bananas for the kids half-way through the ride.”
In support of the drought, the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal generously gave Mareeba State School a three-year grant of $46,251. This grant provides an extra day at school for Chappy Tim, and funds for bikes and repair items.
“Last year we were given bikes from the Council, as well as from parents and people in the community, but some of them needed fixing. So we started a Bike Repair Club, which is a great way to encourage hands-on learning,” says Chappy Tim.
More than 100 students have helped at the Bike Repair Club since mid-2019.
Grade 6 student, Alex, has been involved since the beginning.
“In the Repair Club, we fix bikes for people that need them, and learn how to change the brake cables, patch up tyres and change the tubes,” says Alex.
More than just a place to learn new skills, Repair Club has become an extension of Tim’s Chappy Room, where students have another safe space to connect.
“I like having Chappy Tim at school. He’s someone I can talk to. He’s fun and helpful and makes people laugh,” says Alex.
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