In Profile: Charlene Bordley, Addventageous

Charlene Bordley (photo: right), the visionary founder of Parramatta Bike Hub, Parramatta Bike Tours and Addventageous, creates programs for ‘hard-to-reach’ groups including First Nations communities, women, seniors and disadvantaged youth.

She met with StreetChat writer Kari Hill at the new home of the Parramatta Bike Hub on Wangal country, along the Parramatta River in Sydney Olympic Park.

Charlene’s passion for making a difference in the community can be seen across the many social enterprise programs she runs.

Wearing her uniform of blue, yellow and green, each colour symbolises a program: Blue for Addventageous, Yellow for Parramatta Bike Tours and Green for the Parramatta Bike Hub.

Social enterprise Addventageous started off as a school program when Charlene gained confidence as a returning cyclist later in life. She experienced the benefits of health, wellbeing, sustainability and connection and wanted to share this with others in the community, especially ‘hard to reach’ people.

She says, “I wished someone had taught me defensive riding skills when I was younger. I went around the community and found that so many people don’t know how to ride bikes.

“Addventageous started as an adventure-based school holiday program, which then became active after-school activities as a government funded program.”

In 2019, Charlene Bordley founded the Parramatta Bike Hub. This, she says, is also a platform to empower, educate and connect. It is a safe space for First Nations communities, a place for women to find their strength, for seniors to find community, and for disadvantaged youth to envision a brighter future.

The secret of Parramatta Bike Hub is not just about bikes, it’s about community and empowerment.

Charlene says, “It’s a meeting place, a workshop, a training and gathering space. We pride ourselves on adapting our programs for everyone.”

Charlene’s eyes light up as she describes some of her favourite moments of teaching bike confidence: an elderly gentleman learning to ride for the first time in his life. A teenager with Cerebral Palsy mastering a unicycle.

Charlene says, “I see the differences. And I continue to ask myself, what can I do next?”

The majority of the Hub’s bicycle fleet are pre-loved and donated to keep them out of landfill and back into the community through learning-to-ride programs, and a bicycle library. Bicycle maintenance workshops keep them tuned up, and provide another community touchpoint.

The Bike Hub actively creates and fosters community. The ‘Riding for Positive Mental Health’ program offers community participants a holistic approach to proactive self-care by combining physical activity with mental health education over 12 weeks. ‘Recreate Craft’ is a community crochet group that creates beautiful upcycled pieces to adorn the outer layers of the renovated Hub.

The Hub also hosts First Nations programs including the Job Readiness Program, teaching local guiding, and Riding Safety with Transport NSW in remote areas.

Whether Charlene is supporting diverse groups of people, the river or sustainability programs, she lives by the motto: “Don’t let the world go by – keep the mind and body engaged.”

We look forward to seeing what’s next for Charlene Bordley, Addventageous and Parramatta Bike Hub.

Top photo: Sydney Olympic Park Authority.

See the Parramatta Bike Hub case study.

Bike maintenance. Photo: Sydney Olympic Park Authority.

Parramatta Bike Hub community program. Photo: Tim Clark.

Bicycle library and learning centre. Photo: Kari Hill.

Parramatta Bike Hub community noticeboard. Photo: Kari Hill.

‘Recreate Craft’ – upcycled community artwork. Photo: Kari Hill.

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