School sets big cy­cle trail tar­get

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JACK FLETCHER

Tawa is get­ting be­hind Hamp­ton Hill School as it raises funds for its new cy­cling track.

Board of Trustees mem­ber Jill Day said she was in­spired by the suc­cess of the Bikes in Schools pro­gramme adopted by Ti­tahi Bay School and planned to im­ple­ment it at Hamp­ton Hill in the com­ing year.

‘‘We’re hear­ing amaz­ing sto­ries about the growth in the chil­dren’s con­fi­dence there,’’ she said.

‘‘They’re fig­ur­ing out that fall­ing off your bike and get­ting back on is part of life.’’

The project will cost up to $70,000. Re­quests for help have gone to par­ents, and for fund­ing to Welling­ton City Coun­cil.

One of­fer from a par­ent was teach­ing chil­dren to ser­vice the bikes.

‘‘We thought we could even go a step fur­ther with some of the chil­dren, to get them to be part of the process of ser­vic­ing bikes, and un­der­stand­ing how they work.’’

Hamp­ton Hill School prin­ci­pal Kelly O’Leary said the pro­gramme fit­ted in with what the school was try­ing to do.

‘‘ We want healthy, en­gaged chil­dren and we want chil­dren to risk-take,’’ she said.

The re­cently com­pleted Tawa Val­ley Path­way had cre­ated a ‘‘ gor­geous path­way’’ through Tawa for peo­ple to cy­cle.

‘‘Our hope is that chil­dren can learn to ride here [at school] in a safe en­closed en­vi­ron­ment and then get out there.’’

Launched na­tion­ally in 2010, Bikes in Schools aims to get chil­dren cy­cling again, as well as teach­ing es­sen­tial safety skills.

Ti­tahi Bay School was the first in Welling­ton, and prin­ci­pal Kerry De­laney said it had made a big dif­fer­ence.

‘‘[Bikes in Schools] is the best thing I have done as a prin­ci­pal,’’ De­laney said. ‘‘ We have a triathlon ev­ery year and now all our kids can ride a bike.’’

Thirty-five schools around the coun­try have adopted the pro­gramme, which re­quires buy­ing bikes, hel­mets, and a rid­ing, pump and skills track.

Schools say the in­creased ex­er­cise means health­ier stu­dents who are learn­ing bet­ter in the class­room.

Photo: JACK FLETCHER

Hamp­ton Hill School prin­ci­pal Kelly O’Leary, left, and board of trustees mem­ber Jill Day stand on the field where the track is to be built.

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