SPEEDY: Nahom Gebremichael, 16 with one of his cycling mentors, Helen Parkes, who facilitated an effort to get him a bike and cycling gear.
SPEEDY: Nahom Gebremichael, 16 with one of his cycling mentors, Helen Parkes, who facilitated an effort to get him a bike and cycling gear. Claudia Jambor

Go, go, go Nahom

CYCLING is a great example of how sport can break down language barriers.

Using universal bike signs, the Coffs Harbour cycling community has helped riding enthusiast Nahom Gebremichael get back on the bike.

Speaking little English since migrating to Coffs Harbour from Eritrea with his mother and siblings three months ago, the 16-year-old rides well in the group thanks to "sign language".

"Even without English, he can still ride in a group because he's now understanding those signs," local cyclist Helen Parkes said.

"He certainly has a lot of skill. He's a good hill climber. He's very hard to keep up with."

Speaking through his dad - who has lived in Coffs Harbour for four years prior to being reunited with his family - Nahom says his favourite part of riding is the speed of racing, described by the youngster as the "go, go, go" and crossing the finish line.

Helen met Nahom and his family through an Anglicare case worker, who was eager to help the teen ride again.

After hearing Nahom's story, Helen facilitated an effort to source donated cycling equipment via social media by using the hashtag #globalharmony to reach out to friends and the broader cycling community.

Donations came from all over Australia for the high school student. They included a bike, clothing and biking shoes.

Nahom is "very happy" to be cycling again and is inspired by Eritrean cyclist Daniel Taklehaimanot.



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