Teen pedals to freedom
FOR Murwillumbah teen Matthew Lyon, bicycle riding offers a freedom he hasn’t found anywhere else.
Matthew, who lives with autism, completed his HSC at Murwillumbah High School last year.
After successfully applying for a My Choice Matters Run Project and receiving a trike bike, Matthew began working with a cycling mentor.
He has since been riding once a month with a group as a result of the Run Project funding.
While Matthew, 19, doesn’t communicate verbally, his mum, Arna Presland, said embarking on cycling gatherings had given him an outlet to connect with others in a new way.
“I can see that he gets a lot of joy out of riding with others,” Ms Presland said.
“He just wants to get out there.”
In conjunction with Autism Awareness Month, Matthew will be at the forefront of the Cyc’d Bike Party at Cabarita this Saturday.
Ms Presland hoped the initiative could lead to independence for her son.
“I could see him being able to get to work or just go out this way,” she said.
“Before, I felt for him to travel independently, was out of reach.”
With cycling, she said Matthew had become more “switched on” and alert.
Sign-up for the Cyc’d Bike Party is at 3pm this Saturday at The Lake, Cabarita.
The ride kicks off at Cabarita Headland from 4pm, running along Tweed Coast Rd to Casuarina and return to Cabarita. Only 50 riders can take part, so registration is essential at trybooking.com/186100. Registration is $5 for kids, $15 for adults or $50 for a team of four or more.
Banora Point man Nathan Johnston and his all-abilities band, US the Band, would perform at the party, which has been declared a plastic bag and plastic bottle-free event, with the support of Boomerang Bags.
There will be major raffle give-aways including a weekend away for a family of five. There will also be a barbecue, market stalls and more. Riders should wear fancy dress. Supporters of riders welcome at the party.