It may not be the first thing that springs to mind when it comes to teaching Aussie teens life skills, however, cycling takes on a whole new role when a BMX World Champion rolls into town encouraging young people to embrace their local communities through bike riding.

Fresh from competing in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, champion BMX rider Sam Willoughby joined teens in his hometown of Adelaide in August to help kick off The Happiness Cycle for 2016. 

The Happiness Cycle, a community program created in partnership with not-for-profit organisation Bicycle Network, will teach the young Aussies everything from bike mechanics and maintenance to core riding skills such as road safety, balance, awareness and endurance.

“I’ve been an ambassador for The Coca-Cola Happiness Cycle for three years now and love sharing my passion for riding and seeing the excitement of teens involved,” said Sam.

“These events provide teens who wouldn’t otherwise have access to bikes with an opportunity to build a bike and take it home to enjoy.”

Sam Willoughby

Rio 2016 Olympic Games athlete and BMX World Champion Sam Willoughby has been an ambassador for The Coca-Cola Happiness Cycle for three years.

Since launching in 2014, The Happiness Cycle has donated almost 10,000 bikes to Aussie teens across communities in need. 

This year the program is preparing to improve the lives of thousands more with the help of partner Beacon Foundation by connecting 13-17-year-olds most in need through their schools and community groups. 

With 1800 bikes to be donated across the country in 2016, local teens are invited to get involved in upcoming Happiness Cycle events to be hosted in NSW, Victoria and South Australia to experience the benefits of cycling. 

Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards agrees. “Bike riding teaches teens many life skills that prepare them for adulthood – it provides teens with the ability to recognise risk and understand the responsibility of being on the road, while also providing a sense of independence,” said Craig. 

The Happiness Cycle

Since its inception in 2014, The Happiness Cycle has supported almost 10,000 teens in Australia across communities in need.

“In recent years, we’ve seen more teens spend time indoors in front of screens rather than out engaging in the community, so it’s more important than ever to get teens riding through great programs like The Happiness Cycle.”

There is no greater example of how community work and bike riding can create a positive impact than Hobart teenager Geoff Papi-Watson

Geoff Papi-Watson

This year, The Happiness Cycle volunteer Geoff Papi-Watson experienced the ultimate reward for his contributions to the community – a trip to Saõ Paulo, Brazil, where he carried the flame in the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay.

A student at Beacon Foundation partner school, Claremont College in Tasmania, Geoff began participating in The Happiness Cycle in early 2014. After training with the Coca-Cola Happiness Cycle mechanics, Geoff went on to volunteer his time to assist students assemble their new bikes in his local area through the program. 

This year, Geoff experienced the ultimate reward for his contributions to the community – a trip to Saõ Paulo, Brazil, where he carried the flame in the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay