School cycle trail leads to bike boom
A new cycle trail at a Marlborough school has seen a boom in the number of pupils using pedal power.
Mayfield School, in Blenheim, has a new cycle circuit which spans 430 metres around the school grounds.
The new track is so popular children are regularly clocking-up kilometres every day and the number of pupils using bikes has soared by more than 10 times.
Principal David Nott says the new $20,000 track has already provided benefits in other ways too.
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As well as exercise, the track has also helped some pupils learn leadership skills, get to grips with basic mechanics and helped shy children come out of their shell.
"The kids love the track and the leadership side has been great. There's a Year 6 bike team who are responsible for getting the bikes out and issuing bike passes and they have taken a really sensible approach to it.
"They've taken on responsibility for cleaning the bikes and have been learning about how to change tyres, put chains back on and how to adjust brakes.
"They love it," he says.
The track is the culmination of almost four years of fundraising and planning after the idea was first mooted by pupils at an Enviroschools class.
The school received some funding from Sport Tasman towards the project which has enabled them to buy new bikes for all pupils to use.
Where once there were around three pupils who cycled to school, there are now around 33.
Parents at the school have also helped by donating bikes and planting grass alongside the circuit, which also features a special bowl area.
Simcox Construction in Blenheim also helped out with the project.
"It's great to see the kids out there enjoying it so much. We'll have around 12 school bikes so children who don't have their own can have access to one.
"There are two bike passes per class and the older children help organise that and make sure everyone who wants a turn gets a turn.
"By the time the kids have done six or so laps during break time they've clocked-up around 3 to 4 kilometres without even realising it."
- The Marlborough Express