Community ready to benefit from local school cycle trail

26 July 2012

A new ‘Bikes in Schools’ project is set to roll with the grand opening ceremony at Apanui School in Whakatāne tomorrow. 

Cycle Action Whakatāne (CAW) undertook the fundraising and project management for the new facility, which includes cycle trails, a 60 strong bicycle fleet and storage shed.  The support from the community has been overwhelming and many local organisations helped ensure the project has been a success.  Main sponsors of the project, which cost over $60,000 to build, included the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Pub Charity and The Southern Trust.  Practical support was provided by Versatile Homes and Buildings, BYK Bikes, Adventure Brands, Earth Cycles, Simply Graphics, Framework Furniture, Tracks Concrete, Bunnings Whakatāne, Whakatāne Cycle Centre and Cheeky Rooster Communications & PR.

The ‘Bikes in Schools’ initiative was introduced by Bike On NZ, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to enable and assist more New Zealanders to experience cycling.  ‘Bikes in Schools’ aims to provide opportunities for primary school aged children to become more active and healthy, develop cycling skills and confidence, and build self-esteem, while in a safe and familiar school environment. 

The entire project is provided to the school at no cost to them and enables all children equal access to the facilities.   The trails at Apanui School will be available to the school during school hours and to the community outside of school hours.

CAW spokesperson, David Wicks, is thrilled to see the project completed.  “Many dedicated people have spent an enormous amount of time pulling this project together and it is rewarding to know the benefits the cycle facilities will have.  We know that if kids develop skills, experience and confidence on bikes when they are young, they are more likely to participate in cycling, whether as a healthy pastime or as a means of commuting, when they are older. Increased participation in cycling brings environmental, social and health benefits.” Mr Wicks said.

Cycle Action Whakatāne is a charitable trust whose purpose is to provide financial and practical support for cycling projects and advocacy for cycling initiatives.  The CAW Trust’s next project is to establish a community cycling facility at Warren Park, in Whakatāne.