Benefits rack up for students on bikes
There have been no breaks for Tokoroa High students who continue to fill up the school’s once-lonely bike racks.
As part of the Move60 campaign launched by CocaCola and in partnership with BikeNZ and Foundation for Youth Development (FYD) 129 year 9 students were given free bikes in March.
To be eligible, the students had to be signed up to the FYD programme.
The bikes were part of more than $ 60,000 worth of gear given away.
Despite the cold winter months the teens were still taking advantage of the gifts.
Move60 Ambassador Sarah Walker made a surprise visit to the students last week.
‘‘When I turned up I could hear them talking, they think they are on the other side of the world but I’m hearing the whole thing, they said, ‘ is that Sarah Walker?’,’’ she said.
Walker treated six students to a bike ride as well as a visit to the rest.
‘‘It’s cool to come back to see the bikes are still being used and not locked away,’’ she said.
Growing up in the town of Kawerau, Walker knows how useful the bikes really are.
‘‘I grew up in a fairly small town and so they are more likely to go out often rather than in a big city.’’
Teacher Nooroa Manu had a firsthand account of the growing interest in cycling.
‘‘All my boys come to training with their bikes, I’ve never seen that,’’ he said.
Manu said cycling had also made it in other sports.
Instead of running in the cross- country he said some students were given the option to cycle.
But the bikes have not just brought out the health benefits.
‘‘Bikes somehow connect those not only on a physical level but socially,’’ he said.
The short- term goal is to promote 60 minutes of exercise a day in hopes it will inspire 100,000 to get moving by 2020.
As a part of the Move60 initiative a smartphone app was also launched.
The app includes bike-focused games, challenges, competitions and rewards and it can be downloaded by anyone.
Gearing up: Sarah Walker, middle, visited the Tokoroa High School year nines for a surprise ride.