Community will share benefits of cycle track

By Liz Wylie

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Gonville School pupils Shakhani Te Tue, 6 and Aaria Joseph 6 Hamish McDouall, Olympic cyclist Gary Anderson and Constable Rob Condor at the new Gonville School cycle track.
Gonville School pupils Shakhani Te Tue, 6 and Aaria Joseph 6 Hamish McDouall, Olympic cyclist Gary Anderson and Constable Rob Condor at the new Gonville School cycle track.

The opening of the new cycle track at Gonville School was cause for great celebration on Wednesday.

Gonville is the first school in the Whanganui region to jump on board with the Bikes in Schools programme, an initiative inspired by charitable trust Bike On.

The opening of the track which will be shared with the community was attended by representatives from sponsors Powerco Trust, Whanganui Community Foundation and the Ministry of Education.

Whanganui's Olympic medal winning cyclist, Gary Anderson attended the opening and made a few circuits of the new track giving it a big seal of approval.

Bike On Trust founder Paul McArdle attended the opening and said it was fantastic to see a Whanganui school embracing the programme.

"I have to emphasise that Gonville School and their sponsors have done all the work.
"What we do is provide the template for the programme and the school and community do the rest."

Based in Hastings, Mr McArdle said he initiated the building of a track at his children's school and said he established the trust to provide a model because too many children do not enjoy the benefits of cycling which include increased health, fitness, skills, safety, confidence and self-esteem.

Mr McArdle said that since the trust was established in 2010, 60 schools around New Zealand have established Bikes in Schools programmes which include cycles, a storage shed and helmets.

"Each school can add their unique elements to the programme and I really like the way Gonville School is sharing theirs with families and opening it up to the community.

"They have even added another entrance for community access."

Gonville School principal Greg Elgar said he hopes to see families cycling together on the track and the school's new fleet has bikes ranging from little ones with training wheels through to adult models.

Mayor-elect Hamish McDouall, Constable Rob Condor and others joined Mr Anderson for a test ride around the track after the opening ceremony.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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