A new cycling programme launched in Ocean View earlier this month gets children off the streets and equips young adults with skills.Jimmy James Esterhuizen joined the Bicycling Empowerment Network in 2012 to develop youth through cycling. The first time he got to work with the youth from the area was during a December holiday programme at Ocean View Secondary School that same year.“I had to borrow the school’s bicycles at the time because I was just starting out.” Eventually it would take about two years before he got his own bicycles. It wasn’t always easy, but his luck turned recently when he managed to obtain the support of a funder who assisted him in gathering the resources needed to launch an after-school programme at the school.The programme, which kicked off on Friday 6 September, runs on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It operates from the school’s BMX track.“We want to get the kids out there and away from environments where they’ve become used to experiencing violence,” he says. Similar programmes are run in Manenberg and Lavender Hill. Esterhuizen says the programme has had a huge impact on the lives of youths living in Ocean View.“The youth are awesome. We use bicycles as a tool to win their attention.”About 50 children attended the programme at the secondary school on the first day but by last week that number had doubled. Esterhuizen says he has dreamt of starting the afterschool programme for a while now. Thanks to the funding, he was able to do exactly that. It also allowed him to empower unemployed youth in Ocean View.“Our crew now includes young people who can facilitate the programme.”He says the programme is open to all children and youth in the community.“It’s for the local kids. They just enjoy the hills and the turns. “It’s a safe environment where they can have fun.”V Contact Ocean View Secondary School on 021 783 1623 for more information.