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Kicking Their Way To St Wendel

July 16, 2012 0 Comments
Footbikers Lyn and Jo
Footbikers – Jo Hassan and Lyn Cook

A team of five footbikers from Brisbane are busy training to take on the world to represent Australia at St Wendel near Frankfurt in Germany in August at the World Footbike Championships. They have been training hard in the build-up to the bi-annual event which was last held in 2010 in Italy.

A footbike is like a scooter with bicycle wheels and the rider kicks, alternating legs between kicking and resting on the footplate. Swapping legs is essential to maintain even strength and muscle tone, not to mention looking uneven!

Four of the five team members competed in Italy, the youngest being Ali Hassan, who then was just 12 years old. He came home with a 3rd in the world in the 400m cadet category and 2nd in the world for the 15km cadet category and was the toast of the Australian team. Now 14 and at high school he’s been given a special leave pass from school for this opportunity.

Italy was disappointing for Alan Stewart who had been training hard for all events but favoured the 37km marathon. His new carbon fibre handlebars snapped near the start of the race leaving him no option but to withdraw from the event which was a street circuit partially on cobblestones. So Alan is ready for Germany… with a new set of handlebars!

Team Manager Bruce Cook is juggling coaching the team, with preparing the best footbikes for everyone’s greatest chance of success, in addition to his own training. He will compete in the 400m, 13km criterium race and the marathon. As well as competing in Italy in 2010, he represented Australia in 2008 in The Netherlands. He also runs the business which supplies the most well known footbike brand in Australia – Kickbike.

Bruce’s wife Lyn is training hard as well as being busy as a banker. She too competed in Italy and hopes to better the 4th placing she earned in the veteran 400m category.

New to the team as a competitor, but not new to the team is Jo Hassan. She went to Italy as Ali’s mum but quickly became a valuable and extremely useful member of the team and was affectionately referred to as the “Bag Lady, Flag Lady, PR Dept and Everyone’s Mum”. She has been kicking for less than a year but in that time has improved remarkably and will compete alongside Lyn in the 400m and 13km criterium events.

Various fundraising events have been held over the last year to cover travel costs for the athletes. These events have included sausage sizzles, dinner at a Turkish restaurant with live music, a wine tasting and an on-going chocolate drive – although team members have to go easy on how much they purchase and consume themselves! They even had a “have a go on a footbike” afternoon where a vision-impaired man was supported to kick a 400m lap of the criterium circuit at Nundah.

The team departs Brisbane towards the end of July to acclimatise before the World Championship events which are being held from 2-4 August.

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