Mike Cooper runs She Rides in Dubbo

RIDES WITH CONFIDENCE: Mick Cooper is helping women in Dubbo increase their confidence and technique on a bike through Cycling Australia's She Rides courses. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
RIDES WITH CONFIDENCE: Mick Cooper is helping women in Dubbo increase their confidence and technique on a bike through Cycling Australia's She Rides courses. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Getting women confident on bikes is the goal of a new course in Dubbo.

Taught by Mick Cooper, the Cycling Australia initiative shows women the correct techniques needed to ride a bike through the city.

The eight week course covers basic techniques such as riding through roundabouts, using one hand to steer and being able to look behind while on the bike.

“There’s a lot of things that all add up together to make it a lot safer but also give you a lot more confidence as well,” Mr Cooper said.

“If you’re not confident you’re probably not going to ride, or if you do you’re going to end up in dangerous situations. Hopefully we can get more girls on their bikes and make them more comfortable to ride.”

Anyone can jump on a bike and ride it in a straight line but when you start getting into difficult situations where you have to think quickly you need to know the correct technique.

Mike Cooper

The key to confidence was learning the proper technique, the Dubbo Bicycle User Group president said.

“It’s like an L-plater going out and buying a Ferrari. They drive down the highway at 200 kilometres an hour and think ‘I can drive a Ferrari at 200 kilometres an hour I don’t need to learnt to drive’ then they go and hit a car trying to park it. It’s the same thing,” Mr Cooper said.

“Anyone can jump on a bike and ride it in a straight line but when you start getting into difficult situations where you have to think quickly you need to know the correct technique.”

While it wasn’t the overall goal of the course, it also lead to increased fitness and a camaraderie between the women who participated, Mr Cooper said.

She Rides began nationally in 2014. Since then it has expanded to more than 40 locations.

As with most things, Mr Cooper said it was a case of ‘practice, practice, practice’ to improve riding skills. It didn’t take long for changes to be seen, he said.

There are three branches of the She Rides initiative: basics, for beginners; confidence, for those looking to increase their skills; and together, for those who want to take up mountain biking.

The next set of courses will begin in October.

More information about the initiative can be found at www.cycling.org.au.