Churton School has a new bike track and Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall joined some of the school's pupils on Wednesday to take a first ride around it.

The 500m track was completed by Downer with contributions of free labour and equipment.

Whanganui District Council supported the school's application for $3000 from the Bikes in Schools project and the school Board of Trustees raised funds for the remaining costs.

"Cycling is really important to Whanganui," the mayor said.


"I remember when there were bike traffic jams on Dublin Bridge and it will be good to see more cyclists."

The development of more cycle tracks in schools is largely inspired by The Bike On New Zealand Charitable Trust.

The trust's main objective is to enable all New Zealand children to ride a bike on
a regular and equal basis within school, through its national Bikes in Schools

Since the first Bikes in Schools project was opened in 2010, the trust has worked with or assisted more than 90 New Zealand schools to implement Bikes in Schools.

Bike On founder Paul McCardle travelled from Havelock North to attend the opening of the Churton School track on Wednesday.

He says there has been a dramatic decline in the number of children riding bikes in New Zealand during the past 25 years and the tracks are a way to lift those numbers.

The school-based tracks are the most cost-effective, time-efficient and low-risk way to encourage cycling and the benefits are improved health, better focus, cycle skills, increased fitness and greater fitness in the school and the community.

"Whanganui schools have fantastic grounds that lend themselves to the inclusion of cycle tracks," he said.

"They have such nice outlooks that children can enjoy while cycling."

Doug Rennie, from The Bike Shed, had a pit stop gazebo set up beside the track where he was checking and fixing bikes.

"A lack of air in the tyres is the most common problem," he said as he employed a portable foot pump to help speed up young cyclists.

Churton principal Andrew Spence said the school had a roll of 140 and the children were thrilled to have a track at their school.