Todd Meyn: Dismantle
BMX pro jumps in to help kids repair bikes and their confidence
Todd Meyn was just like any other 10-year-old who enjoyed riding his bike around the southern suburbs of Perth when a friend dared him to take a jump off a homemade ramp.
He was hooked. “It was awesome. One of the best feelings ever,” Todd says.
He started riding at the local Belmont skate park whenever possible, which “kept him out of trouble” as a teenager. He graduated to pulling stunts for a living with action sports group Nitro Circus.
After a decade in the US, the Belmont-raised BMX star has returned to Perth. Now, in between travelling the world with Nitro, he volunteers as a bike mechanic with BikeRescue, the flagship mentoring program of the Dismantle youth organisation.
“When I was growing up I had a lot of positive influencers who were really good to me,” Todd says. “Now I’m in that position. I see a little kid and I treat them like they’re my best friend and want to inspire them too.”
BMX pros spend a lot of time modifying their bikes and Todd has become an expert bike mechanic – with lots of skills he can share.
The program targets disengaged school students with low attendance and motivation. Participants get to fully strip and restore two bikes each – one for charity and one to keep – while building their confidence and social skills under the watchful eye of the bike mechanic.
“The program is more about praising than criticising,” Todd says. “You can relate to the kids and talk to them about what’s going on in their home life.
“The program helps kids work through a problem and use these problem-solving skills in other areas.”
Todd says it’s awesome to be voted a Westfield Local Hero, but he thinks he’s the one getting the payback from volunteering.
“To be able to go back to where it all started and help the community where I grew up is so rewarding. In fact, it’s almost selfish – that’s how good it makes me feel!”
Dismantle will use its $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant to help activate three more BikeRescue programs – supporting 30 at-risk young people.
“The money will be used to reach more kids and give more schools the opportunity to be part of the program,” Todd says.