Western Sydney’s bicycles are getting a new lease on life and so are the residents.
Bicycle NSW bicycle user groups (BUGs) in every corner of NSW get together on social rides and help Bicycle NSW advocate for safer roads for all bike riders aged 8 to 80.
One BUG is recycling bikes bound for the landfill and loaning them at affordable rates on community rides to get people riding and socialising, but that’s not all!
The Western Sydney Cycling Network uses recycled bicycles to assist with helping to get people involved in bike riding. Photo: Tim Hunter
Positively changing the lives of volunteers, Members and the community
The Western Sydney Cycling Network (WSCN) was established with the support of Fairfield City Council in September 2006. Since then, thousands of bikes have been recycled.
Refurbishing bikes is giving back to the environment and the local community in ways that cannot easily be measured. Over the last 17 years, WSCN has initiated reputable programs that grow the circular economy, sustain our environment as well as bring families and diverse communities together through bicycling.
Joe Farrugia Founding Member of Western Sydney Cycling Network at the Recycling shed in Prairiewood.
Photo: courtesy WSCN
More than 5,000 bikes back into the community
Joe Farrugia, a retired mechanic, is a founding member of the cycling network.
“We started in 2006 and 17 years later are still going strong and believe we were the first recycling club in Sydney if not in New South Wales.
The recycling program started back in New Zealand and was accepted by Fairfield City Council.
I would say we've refurbished well over 5,000 bikes back into the community at an affordable price."
WSCN Volunteers loading trailer with 50 BMX bikes, helmets & parts for the Mogo Bush Fire.
Photo: courtesy WSCN
WSCN provides support and donations to 100’s across NSW
Joe with the help of dedicated volunteers has been refurbishing hundreds of bikes for not only Fairfield but communities all around NSW including;
truckloads of bikes for Lismore residents recovering from the 2021/22 floods,
Father Chris Riley's Youth off the Streets and the Aboriginal community members in Mogo who had lost everything in recent bushfires.
Joe Farrugia is helping to load the trailer with 50 BMX bikes, helmets & parts for the Mogo Bush Fire Victims. Photo: courtesy WSCN
WSCN has also provided mentoring and bicycle-related Mental health, youth, Aboriginal, and migrant programs in Western Sydney. The network collaborates very closely with immigrant communities through Council run cycling programs including those from Laos, Vietnam, the Middle East and Cambodia, just to mention a few!
Joe Farrugia and WSCN volunteers loading the trailer with 50 BMX bikes, helmets
& parts for the Mogo Bush Fire. Photo: courtesy WSCN
“We have supplied bikes to disadvantaged schools and organised rides for students, like the Fowler Road School. Donated helmets and bikes to new immigrants without transport and to a local family who lost their home and belongings to a fire.
The BUG has organised ride programs for Community First Step and has been very successful with the back to work program for people with brain concerns in collaboration with the Area Health Centre and other organisations,” Mr. Farrugia said.
Western Sydney Cycling Network Members are seen riding around Fairfield regularly. Picture: Tim Hunter
2023 Fairfield Citizen of The Year and WSCN Ride Leader, Diane Gorman said thousands of kilometres have been covered by pedals pushed and the area’s health improved since the club was formed.
WSCN Members preparing for their weekly Thursday ride with Diane Gorman - front row,
2nd from the right. Photo: courtesy WSCN
Bicycle NSW Visits WSCN Facilities
After a recent tour of the facilities Peter McLean, CEO of Bicycle NSW said, “It was great to visit Western Sydney Cycling Network and see all the wonderful work they do. WSCN, you're inspiring and empowering more people to ride and, in the process, you're positively changing the lives of volunteers, Members and the community.
What a legacy you should all be proud of!!!! Keep up the AMAZING work!!!”
Peter McLean CEO of Bicycle NSW (right) and Joe Farrugia at the Western Sydney Cycling Network Recycling shed in Prairiewood. Photo: Bicycle NSW
Peter McLean CEO of Bicycle NSW (left) with Diane Gorman WSCN Ride Leader (opposite)
and WSCN Volunteers. Photo: Bicycle NSW
Extensive bike workshop and community gardens
WSCN headquarters and community centre has an extensive bike workshop and community gardens. The once small tin workshop in Fairfield Showgrounds has now expanded to include three sheds, one housing the new two-person trishaw.
Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone at the electric trishaw launch at Nalawala Community Hall in December last year. Photo: courtesy WSCN
Fairfield City Council and WSCN launch electric trishaw
Fairfield City Council and WSCN launched the electric trishaw at Nalawala Community Hall late last year.
“Trishaws are a fantastic way to offer community members in aged and disability care fun opportunities to reconnect and explore the world from three wheels,” said Francis O’Neill, Head of Advocacy, Bicycle NSW.
Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone at the electric trishaw launch at Nalawala Community Hall with WSCN Members and friends. Photo: courtesy WSCN
Volunteers trained and accredited by Bicycle NSW and Cycling Australia
Volunteers have been trained and accredited by Bicycle NSW and Cycling Australia to ensure all coaching and rides are led by legally trained and competent personnel.
WSCN’s fully qualified coaches have provided bike education sessions at 9 public schools and the program is still active.
Trishaw with ladies from Yada, just one of many organisations WSCN work with to improve the health and wellbeing of their members. Photo: courtesy WSCN
WSCN Volunteers are in demand
Today WSCN boasts a strong active Membership with volunteers who are in demand to act as Marshals and emergency mechanics for public events such as Spring Cycle, Gear-Up Girl, Amy Gillett Foundation, Bike Week and the Sydney Iron Man Triathlon.
Approximately forty volunteers have also contributed to Para Power and around 20 have completed the Bicycle NSW Ride Leaders Course.
Joe advised, “Volunteers also regularly check out bicycle paths and update Fairfield Council regarding safety issues and any concerns”.
Peter McLean has praised the efforts of volunteers saying, “I would like to highlight a special thank you to the many Spring Cycle event volunteers who were the leading and silent force behind the success of the Spring Cycle events which were unfortunately cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic; their dedication prevailed though with the planning being rewarded and the event going ahead in 2022”.
Some of the WSCN volunteers at the recycling shed. 14 donate their time every week. Photo: courtesy WSCN
Defibrillator and First Aid Kit on all official rides
“WSCN has purchased 3 defibrillators. All ride leaders must be qualified operators and hold a current First Aid Certificate with CPR extension. The defibrillator and First Aid Kit are carried on all official rides making WSCN unique in this respect,” said Joe.
WSCN is a vital part of the community
Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone said the network was a vital part of the community.
“Fairfield City Council is proud of the Western Sydney Cycling Network — a first for NSW,” Mr. Carbone said.
“Cycling has many benefits in terms of health and fitness and even for our environment, as more people use bicycles for transport.
“The project gives our residents access to bicycles and puts unused bicycles to good use, rather than leaving them to rust in sheds.”
Clubhouse/Shed open times
The Clubhouse/Shed is open on the first Sunday of the month from 9:00 am to 12 noon
and Wednesday 9:00 am to 1.00 pm.
WSCN offers 2 rides every Thursday and 2 rides every Saturday. Free community rides and sausage sizzles are held on the 1st Sunday of every month.
The club also organises regular weekends away for their Members.
If you would like to leave a donation or buy a bicycle from these passionate cycling experts
To support your local BUG and programs like these join Bicycle NSW. You can also donate to the Bicycle NSW Environmental Trust.