Bike On Maraenui
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.