If you learned to ride your bike at a west Auckland school, chances are you were taught by David Powell.
In just over 10 years, David, one of Auckland Transport’s cycling co-ordinators, has taught 33,000 years five and six students at 43 west Auckland primary schools to ride bikes.
“Even after teaching for 10 years, it’s still rewarding,” he says.
“You still get a kick out of kids learning to ride a bike. Some children find it a bit difficult to get the balance to start pedalling, but by the end of the class most would have the basic skills. Once you pick it up, you never forget.”
David is well known in west Auckland for teaching so many school students to ride bikes, and often gets recognised.
“When I was in Henderson recently a man came up to me to thank me for teaching him to ride. He had learning difficulties and riding his bike is his only form of transport, after he had school lessons 11 years ago,” he says.
“Last term I was teaching at one school, and one of the kindy teachers popped over and said she remembered learning to ride a bike in one of our classes.”
David, who is retiring this month, says parents should encourage their children to learn and keep pedalling.
“My advice is to take the kids to their local park and encourage them to keep riding and spend time doing it together.
“Even spending time fixing a puncture and showing them how to care of their bikes is important, as well as fitting helmets properly and making sure they are riding and sharing cycleways and bike paths safely.”