Hundreds of Rotorua children have had a chance to get on a mountain bike as part of Crankworx 2018.

An international programme introduced to New Zealand in 2015, Share the Ride, has helped to give disadvantaged Rotorua children the chance to learn to ride a bike and learn that anything is possible if you work at it.

Over 10 weeks, children, along with their whanau, have been provided with free hire bikes, helmets and coaches from Mountain Bike Rotorua to learn riding skills, history of the forest, bike maintenance, and tackle a range of mountain biking trails.

Organiser Marcello Ojerio said this year 10 children were taking part.

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"It's all about trying to get people on bicycles. It's a really nice way to tie it in to this massive international mountain biking festival that comes to Rotorua."

In return for their dedication pupils are rewarded brand new Giant bikes and helmets thanks to Share the Ride donations.

"It's going to be awesome seeing the kids get their bikes. It's really neat and the kids have earned it," Ojerio said.

"They come from a broad range of ages and ability levels and everyone supported each other."

He said with Rotorua being a family-friendly riding community it was "rad" to see new people getting involved.

Mokoia Intermediate pupils Paul Fustenburg, 12, (left), Brooke Weir, 11, Kaden Wood, 12, Sophie Twist, 11, and Haruki Tashiro, 12, took part in Share the Ride. Photo/Stephen Parker
Mokoia Intermediate pupils Paul Fustenburg, 12, (left), Brooke Weir, 11, Kaden Wood, 12, Sophie Twist, 11, and Haruki Tashiro, 12, took part in Share the Ride. Photo/Stephen Parker

This year, 302 students from Mokoia Intermediate were taken for a riding session in the forest as part of the project.

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Principal Rawiri Wihapi said the lessons had been a huge success and the school was privileged to be involved in it.

"I went along with the last group on Friday and it was awesome. The kids have been keen as to give it a go and it's been an awesome experience for them."

Wihapi said at least one of his pupils had never actually been on a bike before.

"It's taken a while to get the whole school through the forest, but every single class has now had the opportunity.

"It's all been really positive and it was a very cool thing to be part of."

Pupils Brooke Weir, 11 and Kaden Wood, 12, said they were all extremely lucky to take part.

"Going for the ride was my favourite part," Brooke said.

Kaden said he hoped to go along and see some of the riders at Crankworx.

"It was a brand new experience for us and great for people who had never been in the forest before."