Bike riding a breeze at Selwyn Ridge

Selwyn Ridge Primary School administrator Sharon Leggett, students Lokie Prictor, 5, and Ellie Patrick, 6, and caretaker Rob Taylor celebrated the opening of the school’s cycle trail with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The old expression ‘just like riding a bike’ implies that we know everything about an activity and can easily take up where we left off. But what if you never learned how to ride a bike in the first place?

That won’t be a problem for students at Selwyn Ridge Primary School in Welcome Bay following the opening of its new cycle track last week.

The school is following in the footsteps of Gate Pa School, which won a national award for its cycle track last year, James Street School in Whakatane, and Te Puke Primary School. A cycle track is also in the pipeline at Tahatai Coast School in Papamoa.

The cycle track, located on the school grounds, was developed in partnership with Tauranga City Council’s Project Tauranga and its partner Higgins, and the Bikes in Schools Charitable Trust which donated $20,000 towards the cost of purchasing bikes, helmets, and storage facilities.

Principal Craig Price says the track is ‘absolutely vital’ for the success of the Bikes in Schools programme, which aims to get New Zealand children back on bikes. Between 1990 and 2014 the average time biked by New Zealand five to 12-year-olds fell from 28 minutes per week to just four minutes per week.

“There are a number of other benefits too, not least that our children will be more active and feel comfortable with cycling as a form of transport as they grow up.”

Older students at the school learn bike riding skills through the Kids Can Ride programme and the bikes, which come in a range of sizes, are available to all students to ride during morning tea and lunch breaks.

Craig says providing bikes as well as somewhere to ride them is important because not all children have bikes at home and the school’s bikes will be well-maintained and safe to ride.

“It’s all about having kids that are healthy, happy and active.”