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Father, Son Cycle To School For Fitness, Cost Effectiveness

Father, Son Cycle To School For Fitness, Cost Effectiveness
Bow Sansom on his bicycle. Photo: Dom Sansom
September 08
11:00 2017


The amount of destructive greenhouse gases produced on daily drives to school can be drastically reduced if adults and children cycle to work and school instead of using motorised transport.

It can also be a cost-effective way to remain fit and avoid the early morning surge in traffic that commuters sometimes stay stuck in for an hour or more.

With these in mind, founder and past president of Cycling Fiji Dom Sansom and his seven-year-old son, Bow, cycle to school in Suva from Lami.

“You don’t need to get fit to cycle – you cycle to get fit,” Mr Sansom said.

“We cycle from Lami along Rewa Street to the Multiple Intelligence School. Sometimes we cycle the shorter but tougher route up Reservoir Road, and other times we cycle through Walu Bay, past Suva Wharf (Port of Suva).

“Cycling gets you fit and it keeps you fit; it keeps you healthy; saves you money; reduces emissions; reduces congestion; saves the planet and is fun. There are no down sides to cycling – it ticks all the boxes.

“A study on London transport showed that someone that cycles to work or school four to five days a week goes from the bottom 30 percent least fit people in the country, to the top five per cent fittest in just five weeks.”

A bike produces zero pollution and it takes around one per cent of the materials and energy used to make a car to build a bike.

Apart from the physical benefits of cycling, recent surveys have also found cycling to be an effective way to deal with mental health problems such as depression and insomnia.

However, there are no bicycle lanes on Fiji’s roads and this could be a reason people are discouraged by the exercise.

To this Mr Sansom said: “Safety is top priority. So, yes, a cycling lane would be good. Also footpaths are already in place: we just need regulations and awareness for sharing the paths with pedestrians which should be pretty easy to do.”

Mr Sansom hoped to create awareness on the benefits of cycling through Life Cycle Pacific and Fiji’s only cycling advocacy group, Life Cycle Fiji, both of which he helped set up with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Meanwhile this is not the first time little Sansom is responsive to saving something. Early this year in February he was awarded a Bravery Award for saving a child.

In February, President Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote’s shook his hand when he awarded Bow the Order of Fiji Bravery Medal at State House.

Bow had saved one-year-old Tulia Waqavonovono (last year at her residence in Lami), from drowning at the latter’s swimming pool.

Mr Sansom had talked of his son’s act of bravery and selflessness.

“Bow jumped into the swimming pool to pull Tulia out because she had sunk to the bottom of the pool,” Mr Sansom said.

“He held her up with his one hand and he actually stayed underwater with the other hand holding his breath while rescuing her.

“Bow heard a fall in the pool. He did not know what was the splash,” his father Sansom said.

“When he went closer, he saw her (Tulia) at the bottom of the swimming pool.”

For guests and medal recipients, Bow was the epitome of bravery.

Bow learnt to swim when he was just two-years-old. He was coached by one of the Pacific’s best swimmer’s, Sharon Smith.

“I just walked up to the deck and I saw her drowning and I jumped in to save her.

“I was also scared when I jumped into the water to save her,” he said.

Bow said after the incident, he’d keep a look out for young Tulia whenever they’re together.

“I look after Tulia (now two-years-old). She is naughty. I get stuff for her when her mother asks for it.”

Tulia’s mother Tahitia Waqavonovono, said: “I am very proud of Bow for receiving the Bravery Award from the President.

“I am so thankful to him for saving my daughter,” she said.

Ms Waqavonovono said she had a function at her place in Waimate, Lami, when the incident happened.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola



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