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Sponsors give bikes, cycle track to primary school

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland Transport and community sponsors pitch in to give new bikes and cycle track to Mangere Primary School

The collective sweat, toil and goodwill of the community have given a Mangere primary school its own cycle skills track.

This Thursday Mayor Len Brown will help Nga Iwi Primary School open the 280m winding track, which has berms, bridges, see-saws and posts for students to improve their cycling skills. The ceremony will thank the local community and companies for their involvement in building the track.

The idea has grown from an Auckland Transport approach to the school last year promoting a Travelwise safe school travel plan, launched on Thursday too. Research had shown that there were very low levels of cycling in south Auckland and the school agreed it was time for a change.

It is the only area in Auckland that had no cycle training programmes in 2010.

Auckland Transport helped the school find sponsorship and is establishing a programme to teach all Year 5 and 6 students to ride a bike. Local companies and contractors pitched in donating materials, free labour and sponsorship to build the track and buy bikes for the school, an estimated cost build of $60,000.

It took three days to dig up the school's field for the 280m winding track and 40 tonnes of limestone. For more of a challenge a skills course with berms, bridges, see-saws and posts to weave in and out of will test student skills. The addition of a pump track brings fitness options for the children.

Nga Iwi School Principal Heather Hampton says everyone is impatient and raring to go and acknowledges the project could not have been done without the help of their community.

Auckland Transport's Community Transport Manager Matthew Rednall says the school and community have been hugely supportive of the Travelwise programme.

"We've worked with Nga Iwi on other road safety initiatives and together we wanted to create opportunities for their students to learn to cycle and experience cycling in a safe environment.

"It's more than a cycle track, it's about getting bikes in schools, getting children on them and teaching them the skills and confidence to ride a bike. Encouraging children to cycle is a skill for life and a healthy choice which can be carried into adulthood.

"We also hope that it leads to parents and caregivers exploring other recreational cycling areas together as a family outside of school hours.

"We add our thanks to everyone who has given their time and skills to the project. The level of sponsorship and support has been a fantastic response and will be remembered for a long to come, says Mr Rednall.

Inspiration for the Nga Iwi Community Cycle Project came from learning about the Hawkes Bay based Bikes in Schools project initiated by Paul McArdle. Since February 2010 the Bikes in Schools project has enabled 1,000 Hawkes Bay school children to ride bikes on a regular basis within the school environment.

Key sponsors/supporters

� John Filimore of JFC Construction donated his equipment and staff to build the main track for free

� Winstone Aggregates donated over 40 tonnes of limestone topping the track

� Counties Manukau Sport donated $10,000 to the school to build the pump and skills track

� Woodhill Bike Parks build the pump and skills tracks at a discounted rate

� The Lion Foundation granted the school $7,500 to purchase bikes

� Adventure Brands offered bikes at a discount rate and ran a bike assembly workshop for free

� Paul McArdle was the inspiration for Auckland Transport to initiate a pilot and he has given his time and knowledge freely and been a great support during the whole project

� Auckland Transport's community transport team provided a project manager to support the school to find the funds and support needed to get the track built

� Auckland Transport to provide level one cycle training to all year 5 and 6 students

� Cycle Action Auckland and Bike NZ have both supported the project

� The Ministry of Education gave permission for the track and the school's Board of Trustees have supported the project

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