Wheels turn­ing on Firth’s cy­cle track

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - REXINE HAWES

The wheels are re­ally start­ing to turn at Firth Pri­mary School.

The school is al­most ready to launch it’s school cy­cle track, and are one of only three schools in the Waikato to have one as part of the Bikes in Schools Project, join­ing schools in both Pu­taruru and Hamil­ton.

Prin­ci­pal James Eldridge says the idea came from an ar­ti­cle in the New Zealand Ed­u­ca­tion Gazette - Ko­tuku Korero - about Bike On char­i­ta­ble trust, Bikes in Schools project.

The project was launched in New Zealand in 2010 and aims to help more New Zealan­ders ex­pe­ri­ence the ben­e­fits of bi­cy­cle rid­ing.

‘‘A staff mem­ber spot­ted it thought it was pretty cool. We in­ves­ti­gated the costs and got started on look­ing for fund­ing,’’ said Eldridge.

The school re­ceived grants from Trust Waikato and Sport Waikato, plus lo­cal con­trac­tors and busi­nesses have jumped on board.

Eldridge said with­out grants, the project would about $50,000.

Peter Jones Con­trac­tors and Wil­son Sands have laid out the track and pro­vided the sand base.

Eldridge says he con­tacted Swaps for a quote to sup­ply and roll out the ag­gre­gate. He was sur­prised by the com­pany’s re­sponse. any cost

‘‘They just said they would take care of it. There were 13-14 truck loads. I can’t sing their praises enough.

‘‘We just can­not wait, we are just hope­ful for con­tin­ued sun­shine, so Swaps can make fin­ish­ing touches.

‘‘The kids have been watch­ing the trucks for a few weeks, ev­ery­one is very ex­cited. We are look­ing for­ward to hav­ing a pro­gramme im­ple­mented to be able to use it.’’

Eldridge says he is hope­ful a cus­tom de­signed con­tainer, in school colours, 51 bikes and 200 hel­mets will be at the school by the end of Novem­ber.

Mata­mata Cy­cles supplied the bikes of var­i­ous sizes at cost price, and Firth Par­ent Group fronted the money for hel­mets, one for ev­ery child.

Mata­mata Cy­cles had also of­fered to ser­vice and main­tain the bikes.

The school plans to use the bikes as part of their pre-ex­ist­ing ex­er­cise pro­gramme and Eldrige says there is also po­ten­tial for the school to open it to other schools.

‘‘We used to do a tri-scoota-thon, of run­ning, swim­ming and rid­ing a scooter, so now we can do a proper school triathlon.’’

Prin­ci­pal James Eldridge and Thomas Pil­moreE­vans on the al­most­com­pleted school cy­cle track.

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