Terrace End pupils are getting bike fit
Terrace End School children are already having fun on their new bike tracks that were blessed by Rangitane kaumatua Wiremu Te Awe Awe on Friday.
The school has a skills and pump track in the previously out-of-bounds pit, and a tarsealed track around the grounds for bikes and scooters.
As part of the Bikes in Schools scheme, there are 50 new bikes and helmets and a container to store them in to ensure every child can have a go.
It is one of the first three schools to benefit from Palmerston North City Council grants of $50,000 that are speeding up the roll out of the programme.
The other two schools are St Mary's and Longburn, while tracks at Cloverlea, Takaro and Ross Intermediate are under development.
The scheme is designed and promoted by the Bike On NZ Trust. Trustee Paul McArdle said the goal was to ensure all children had access to a bike and a place to ride.
"We have dealt with a lot of schools in New Zealand, and I am yet to find a child who does not want to ride a bike, just plenty who don't have access to one, or lack the skills or confidence."
Each school creates its own version of the scheme, with Terrace End children involved from the start in planning, mapping, and listing the features they wanted.
Principal Sue Allomes said many people and organisations had contributed to the success of the project.
Community trust grants ensured the main track could be sealed, track designers and contractors had supported the project,Terrace End Rotary had helped develop the grounds, and Sport Manawatu and police provide road safety education.
She said the practical help and advice of transportation planner Sandi Morris in managing the development was as valuable as its money.
The city council's budget for the scheme was at first going to be spent on one school a year for 10 years, but councillor Aleisha Rutherford successfully lobbied to have the money spent faster.
"It's about free and low cost recreation for the school and community," she said.
The Palmerston North programme is also providing a research opportunity for Massey University and the MidCentral District Health Board.
Public health lecturer Geoff Kira said although it seemed obvious that children who rode bikes regularly would be fitter and healthier and more ready to learn, it would be good to gather some real evidence to prove the value of Bikes in Schools.