Kids power up their pedalling

May 24, 2024 BY

Ballarat-Sebastopol Cycling Club coach Chris Liston mentors Hazel and Darcy.

THE fourth iteration of Ballarat-Sebastopol Cycling Club’s Power2Pedal children’s bike education program has been delivered.

Taking place at the closed section of the Victoria Park criterium circuit, the sessions of coaching are designed to give young people with autism basic bike-riding skills, self-confidence on two wheels, and a greater sense of self-esteem.

Two of its young riders, Darcy Pastore and Hazel Mabilia, graduated from the program last week, having been mentored by club coach Chris Liston.

Darcy’s final ride of the program was as straight as an arrow.


Darcy was named the most improved rider, while Hazel received an encouragement award.

“Darcy commenced the program with the ability to balance and ride,” Liston said.

“However, following six weeks of coaching one afternoon per week, through starting, steering, balance, speed, stopping and basic bike control, he developed his confidence and bike handling skills by three-fold.

“Darcy was a very good and keen participant in the program.

“Together we developed a rapport about what we wanted to see for the next week and at the end of the course. The final reward was riding on the open roads of Vic Park with me as the chaperone.”

Most improved: Nine-year-old Darcy grew in skill and confidence as part of the Power 2 Pedal program, with coaching from Chris Liston. Photos: SUPPLIED


Liston said this final ride of Darcy’s was steady, consistent, relaxed, smooth and “exceptionally straight.”

Hazel concluded the program with more confidence and an adjusted bike set-up.

“With some dedicated one-on-one tuition, she is developing her

sense of balance and co-ordination to get the bike to flow and balance,” Liston said.

“A combination of applying the power, bracing the arms, looking ahead and all those little things, most of which come simply or native to everyday children, are a little more challenging for children diagnosed and labelled with a disorder.

Hazel can now take off and glide while maintaining balance.


“All that said, Hazel was able to realise what has to come together to take off and glide from the start.

“These simple steps have instilled a massive improvement in confidence and recognition of the body’s response for what is required to pedal and ride fluently.”

BSCC hosts the program alongside Sports Central Ballarat, with support from sponsor MaxiTRANS Ballarat.

“Power 2 Pedal… has the ability to help children and families build networks around a sport and pastime that most people do at least in some part of their life; to ride a bike and cycle places,” Liston said.