Whangaparaoa School’s long awaited bike track opens this week, on March 1, in time for the school’s gala.
The 500m-long asphalt track forms a mini road, with some exciting humps, dips and corners, around the school field. Teacher Debbie Thompson says that the track will help teach children road safety skills and to be confident when cycling by providing a safe place to practice. However, to anyone watching children race around the course on bikes, scooters and skateboards, it is clear that fun is the key component. The track is also open for the public to use after school hours.
Around $85,000 was needed to build the track and there is a pump track to be added.
The idea of building a track began when a group of Year 6 students, in 2013, brainstormed ideas to improve the school. They worked on the concept with a Fulton Hogan engineer through the Future-in-tech programme, which aims to expose students to engineering ideas as a possible future career. The concept also won a merit award in the Transpower Neighbourhood Engineering Awards and that prize money kick started the bike track fund. Other funders include the Harcourts Foundation, the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board, the Lion Foundation, Constellation Community Trust, Fulton Hogan, parents and the wider community. Bike On Trust through Bikes in Schools provided support, including sourcing a grant so that the school could buy a set of bikes.
At the start of this term, all the teachers had a day learning bike skills from Harbour Sports coaches, so they can pass the knowledge onto their students.
A grant from Pelorus Trust will allow a pump track and skills elements to be added to the track.
The Gulf Harbour School bike track, pictured, is officially open. In Term 3 of last year the school worked hard to raise around $50,000 to build the track in the school grounds to acknowledge former principal John Petrie. The 350m long, 2m wide Petrie Track is now open and is being used by the school children for riding and general fitness sessions. It is also available for the local community to use after school hours. It includes skill sections such as weaving between poles and over obstacles.
Wainui School is also opening a school bike track. An official opening, which was originally planned for February 16 was postponed due to weather and will now take place on Sunday, March 19 along with the school’s Fishing Festival and Fair.