Bike Life: Meet Sunny and Arielle
For Sunny Guna, bike riding has become a time to spend quality time with and his 5-year-old daughter Arielle – whether they are riding to kinder, a playground, or tackling the pump track on the tag-along.
‘Arielle always says she loves riding much more than driving because she can see lots of birds and dogs – she loves dogs,’ Sunny explains.
He enjoys it too: ‘Just the freedom, the cool breeze, the fresh air on your face. Even when it’s hot the breeze from riding cools you down.
‘There’s a freedom in not having to worry about putting fuel in the car; you just get out there and pedal.
‘And also for the environment: it’s not adding to pollution. The more we can do to stop climate change, the better,’ he adds.
‘Arielle will say to her friends: “You should ride a bike too – you’ll save money. And save the animals.” She doesn’t get the concept of climate change. Her understanding is that less pollution is better for the animals,’ explains Sunny.
Aside from his evident enjoyment of riding with his daughter, Sunny is enthusiastic about how much incidental learning happens out on the bike.
‘She especially loves riding after school because there are lots of bikes – she counts the bikes as they go past,’ he says.
‘She’ll always ask 101 questions: “Dad what’s the tram stopping for?” she’ll say. Kids love to talk when there’s lots of traffic, but she’s listening; she’ll wait for the answers,’ says Sunny.
Their rides together also give Sunny plenty of opportunities to teach his daughter about road safety. ‘She knows to keep to the left on the path – but of course, as a five-year-old, the mind wanders when she’s watching other kids,’ he smiles.
‘Crossing roads, I always tell her to look left and right, and again, just before we cross.’
Sunny, who has lived in Bendigo for three years, reckons it’s a great city to ride around. Having spent time in several towns and cities around Australia, he observes: ‘Bendigo roads are slightly wider, so there’s better provision for bikes.’
When riding together, he and Arielle mostly ride on bike paths, but they also use the road when they need to.
Aware of the importance of being visible, Sunny is careful to wear bright colours or a yellow vest: ‘otherwise I blend in very well with the road,’ he laughs. Meanwhile, their ‘three-wheeled bike’ (as Arielle calls it) has front lights on both sets of handlebars, and rear lights for each of them, night and day.
When the pair go riding together, Sunny sports a pink Shopkins helmet, while Ariel wears the blue one that he’d originally bought for himself.
‘She loves blue,’ explains Sunny. ‘And because she has a broad head, she can fit an adult helmet, so she now considers the blue helmet hers.
‘When she’s older, she’ll say, “Dad you’re embarrassing me,” so now’s when I can do it! I could say, “Honey you’re embarrassing me,” but of course I don’t!’ he laughs.
Actually, there’s something pretty cool about a dad who wears a pink helmet and spends time with his daughter fostering a love of freedom and family time on a bike.
National Ride2School Day is on Friday March 13. Find out more at http://www.ride2school.com.au
Originally published as ‘Tracks for young and old’ in the Bendigo Weekly.