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