Ben­e­fits rack up for stu­dents on bikes

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

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.

Photo: JEREMY BRIGHT, GRABB PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Gear­ing up: Sarah Walker, mid­dle, vis­ited the Toko­roa High School year nines for a sur­prise ride.

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