Bike On Maraenui

The Napier Mail - - Front Page -

Three bike tracks, 60 bikes and 175 hel­mets have been do­nated to Maraenui School, the third Hawke's Bay School to ben­e­fit from the Bike On NZ pro­gramme. Pic­tured at Fri­day's

open­ing is Kaye-c Keefe aged 8.

Get­ting chil­dren onto bikes has ‘‘mas­sive ben­e­fits’’, for health, learn­ing and con­fi­dence, says Maraenui Bilin­gual School prin­ci­pal Jim Pearcey.

Speak­ing at the open­ing of the school’s new cy­cling tracks on Fri­day, he urged any­one asked to help ex­pand the pro­gramme to other schools to reach into their pock­ets and say yes.

Peter­head School in Flaxmere had the dis­tinc­tion of be­com­ing the sec­ond Hawke’s Bay school – fol­lowed soon af­ter by Maraenui – to join the Bike On New Zealand ‘‘Bikes In Schools’’ pro­gramme last week.

The two decile-one schools joined Hast­ings school St Mary’s, which launched the Bike On pro­gramme in Fe­bru­ary.

Maraenui Bilin­gual School un­veiled 60 new bikes, 175 hel­mets and three new cy­cling tracks, in­clud­ing a con­fi­dence-build­ing be­gin­ners’ course and a ‘‘pump’’ track.

Mr Pearcey thanked the In­fin­ity Foun­da­tion, the East­ern and Cen­tral Com­mu­nity Trust, the Jar­rod Cunningham Youth Sports Trust, The Lion Foun­da­tion and Sport Hawke’s Bay for help­ing fund the project.

The $105,000 cost of the pro­gramme for Peter­head and Maraenui was put to­gether in just 12 weeks by Bike On founder Paul McAr­dle of Napier and for­mer Hawke’s Bay man Bre­viss Wolf­gramm.

Mr Wolf­gramm, now an Auck­land-based film and tele­vi­sion pro­ducer, was con­verted to cy­cling when he lost 25 kilo­grams train­ing for the Iron Maori triathlon in De­cem­ber.

He met Mr McAr­dle at a cy­clists’ break­fast, heard about the Bikes in Schools project and was im­pressed enough to spend three months work­ing as a vol­un­teer fundraiser.

A for­mer sales man­ager for In­de­pen­dent Liquor, Mr Wolf­gramm said his old busi­ness con­tacts had been ex­tremely use­ful in drum­ming up sup­port for Bikes in Schools.

‘‘ I used to ped­dle al­co­hol, now I’m ped­dling health.’’

Mr Wolf­gramm says the Bikes in Schools pro­gramme has ‘‘never been just about Hawke’s Bay so watch this space’’.

He paid trib­ute to Napier busi­ness­man Rod­ney Green, whose men­tor­ing had been in­valu­able.

Mr McAr­dle is a re­tired banker, who worked in Am­s­ter­dam for more than a decade.

He has set up the char­i­ta­ble trust to get more peo­ple rid­ing, and to de­velop a cy­cling cul­ture in Hawke’s Bay sim­i­lar to that in The Nether­lands.

There would be a ‘‘a huge re­turn’’ on the new fa­cil­i­ties at Peter­head and Maraenui, he said.

‘‘We’ve now got an ex­tra 1000 kids on bikes.

‘‘We will get a huge re­turn [by im­prov­ing] chil­dren’s health and con­fi­dence,’’ Mr McAr­dle said.

Thank you: Bike On founder Paul McAr­dle and kau­matua Matt Eru.

Let’s ride: Try­ing out the new track.

Powhiri: Stu­dents wel­com­ing vis­i­tors to the Bike On launch.

On your bike: A stu­dent on one of the 60 new bikes.

Speaker: Kau­matua Matt Eru.

Just cop­ing: Ash­leigh Neave of Napier, the na­tional women’s un­der-19 road cy­cling time trial cham­pion, awestruck by the new cy­cle track at Maraenui.

Fundraiser: Bre­viss Wolf­gramm.

Sup­port this pro­gramme: Prin­ci­pal Jim Pearcey.

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