Happiness is a new bike

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While we may live in the era of Xbox, Playstation, Facebook and YouTube, Craig Richards and Sarah Down find that the simple dream of owning a brand new bike is still alive for some Australian teenagers.

Meet Nick Metha, 16 (pictured above). Nick was one of more than 900 teens who took part in Victoria’s The Happiness Cycle, a nationwide program aimed to get teenagers active through bike riding.

In a way, riding was in Nick’s blood—you could almost say he owes his life to it. If it wasn’t for bikes, Nick and his two older brothers wouldn’t be here as Nick’s parents met each other on one rainy and fateful Great Victorian Bike Ride back in 1985.

After snapping a tent pole, Nick’s dad was preparing to spend the night in a collapsed tent. Although he would never admit to it, some may say this was a pretty smooth move. A damsel (Nick’s mum) came to his distress, lent him a tent pole, started chatting and the rest, as they say, is (cycling) history.

Fast forward twenty years and riding still remains a shared love in the Metha family. Nick speaks of his happiest memories joining his mum, dad and brothers out for a pedal. He has been on a couple of RACV Great Vics, but it was in the back of a trailer as a youngster with his brother.

His parents have forgotten (nearly) how they were left famished during a RACV Great Vic after the young Nick sat in the trailer and proceeded to munch through all of the sandwiches.

Until recently, as the third Metha son, Nick was riding old hand-me-downs.

But on 9 September, that changed thanks to The Happiness Cycle, where Nick earned himself a brand-spanking-new Reid bicycle. He was so determined to secure a new bike that he was the only student from Melba College in Croydon to make it to the Knox event in Melbourne’s south-east. He just couldn’t believe there was a program that handed out new bikes to teens – more than 900 in fact, at the Knox event alone.

“Personally I was interested in completing The Happiness Cycle as it seemed like a good opportunity to gain a bike and meet like-minded people when it comes to cycling,” he told Bicycle Network.

But of course at the end of the day, it’s what you do with that bike that really matters. And Nick has aspirations. The romantics among us would have him follow in his parent’s footsteps to pedal his raison d’etre in an RACV Great Vic but Nick… he wants to start racing.

With his breeding, positive outlook and new bike, we wouldn’t bet against him turning in some great performances.

One thing’s for sure, bike riding has a special place in Nick’s heart and he is on the road toward a happy, healthy life.

For more about The Happiness Cycle, visit happinesscycle.com.au


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