129 kids get gifted bikes

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By PET­RICE TAR­RANT

More than $ 60,000 worth of bi­cy­cles, hel­mets and locks has been dis­trib­uted to Toko­roa High School stu­dents.

Olympic BMX sil­ver medal­list Sarah Walker hosted 129 Toko­roa teens at the Mys­tery Creek Events Cen­tre where ev­ery stu­dent was gifted a bike, hel­met and lock cour­tesy of Move60.

The ini­tia­tive, from Coca-Cola in part­ner­ship with BikeNZ and the Foun­da­tion for Youth De­vel­op­ment (FYD), aims to in­spire 100,000 teens to get mov­ing by 2020.

The pro­gramme is one of four com­mit­ments made by Co­caCola in July 2013, to help to ad­dress the is­sue of obe­sity in New Zealand.

Toko­roa High School’s FYD co-or­di­na­tor Tony Jones said the stu­dents are still buzzing from the ex­pe­ri­ence - and not just be­cause of the bikes.

At the event, Walker un­veiled a smart­phone app that fea­tures bike-cen­tric games, chal­lenges, com­pe­ti­tions and re­wards.

‘‘It’s just like those ad­dic­tive games you play on your Xbox but you have to go cy­cling,’’ Jones said.

The pas­sion­ate teacher said his stu­dents have re­ally taken to the app in­clud­ing one boy who was off school sick with liver prob­lems.

‘‘ The ex­cite­ment about the app and the bike has got him out there again.’’

To be el­i­gi­ble for a bike all stu­dents had to be en­rolled in the FYD STARS pro­gramme, Jones said.

‘‘They had to have gone on the 24-hour sur­vival camp at the start of the year, so they sort of earned it.’’

Toko­roa High School prin­ci­pal Wil­lie Ford at­tended the event and said it was fan­tas­tic to see the smiles on the stu­dents’ faces.

‘‘They were all buzzing with ex­cite­ment and one stu­dent said ‘it feels just like Christ­mas’.’’

The app is free for any­one to down­load and of­fers a plat­form for teens to en­gage in healthy and in­ter­ac­tive com­pe­ti­tion as they clock up the kilo­me­tres.

Walker par­tic­i­pated in a three hour ses­sion led by BikeNZ, tak­ing the teens through road safety and skills train­ing. To date 200 bikes have been gifted with a fur­ther 400 bikes set to be do­nated through FYD this year. Dis­cus­sion on the Dog Con­trol By­law has led to a po­ten­tial change to re-hom­ing fa­cil­i­ties. SPCA, breed­ers, re-homers, pet shops etc will be re­quired to in­form South Waikato District Coun­cil about the trans­fer of own­er­ship of the dogs they sell/find homes for. There was no change to pro­hib­ited ar­eas. These are still CBDs, play­grounds and other coun­cil pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties. The by­law will be out for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion soon. The Toko­roa Me­mo­rial Sports­ground was a hive of ac­tiv­ity on March 28 for the Ju­nior School of Zen event. The two teams from David Henry Pri­mary School took equal first place on the day and as a re­sult won top school. The event in­volved 160 pri­mary school chil­dren in 16 teams of 10. Each com­peted in fun events in­clud­ing a bungy run, an ob­sta­cle course and ki-orahi.

Photo: ROBIN MILLER

Kahu Ed­wards gets a few tips from Olympian Sarah Walker on how to ride her new Avanti bike. Bike crazy: 129 Toko­roa High School stu­dents took away free bikes at an event hosted by Sarah Walker in Hamil­ton.

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