School bike tracks blessed

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - JA­NINE RANKIN

Ter­race End School chil­dren are al­ready hav­ing fun on new bike tracks that were blessed by Ran­gi­tane kau­matua Wiremu Te Awe Awe on Fri­day.

The school has a skills and pump track in the pre­vi­ously outof-bounds pit, and a tarsealed track around the grounds for bikes and scoot­ers.

As part of the Bikes in Schools scheme, there are 50 new bikes and hel­mets and a con­tainer to store them in to en­sure ev­ery child can have a go.

It is one of the first three schools to ben­e­fit from Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil grants of $50,000.

The other two schools are St Mary’s and Long­burn, while tracks at Clover­lea, Takaro and Ross In­ter­me­di­ate are un­der de­vel­op­ment.

Bike On NZ trustee Paul McAr­dle said the goal was to en­sure all chil­dren had ac­cess to a bike and a place to ride.

‘‘We have dealt with a lot of schools in New Zealand, and I am yet to find a child who does not want to ride a bike, just plenty who don’t have ac­cess to one, or lack the skills or con­fi­dence.’’

Each school cre­ates its own ver­sion of the scheme, with Ter­race End chil­dren in­volved from the start in plan­ning, map­ping, and list­ing the fea­tures they wanted.

Prin­ci­pal Sue Al­lomes said many peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions had con­trib­uted.

Com­mu­nity trust grants en­sured the main track could be sealed, track de­sign­ers and con­trac­tors sup­ported the project, Ter­race End Ro­tary helped de­velop the grounds, and Sport Manawatu and po­lice pro­vide road safety ed­u­ca­tion.

She said the prac­ti­cal help and ad­vice of coun­cil trans­porta­tion plan­ner Sandi Mor­ris in man­ag­ing the de­vel­op­ment was in­valu­able.

The city coun­cil’s bud­get for the scheme was orig­i­nally for one school a year for 10 years, but coun­cil­lor Aleisha Ruther­ford lob­bied to have the money spent faster.

‘‘It’s about free and low cost re­cre­ation for the school and com­mu­nity,’’ she said.

The Palmer­ston North pro­gramme is also pro­vid­ing a re­search op­por­tu­nity for Massey Univer­sity and the Mid-Cen­tral District Health Board to gather some real ev­i­dence about the fit­ness ben­e­fits to pupils from the Bikes in Schools scheme.

MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIRFAX NZ

Ter­race End School pupils cel­e­brate the of­fi­cial open­ing of their bike tracks.

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