Bikes in Schools: Detailed

What makes up Bikes in Schools?


A fleet of bikes is made up of a range of different children’s bikes. It is recommended that good quality bikes are purchased and that there is good local support for ongoing servicing of the bikes. It is also recommended that the school identify one or more people in the school or local community to be taught how to service bikes and continue to service them regularly (see Bike Maintenance section).

Teachers can also use the largest bike. Step-through bikes are recommended as they are the easiest and safest bikes for riders to get on and off.

It is recommended that each bike is individually numbered by the school (e.g. 1 to 50) so that the students can quickly identify the correct bike (size) for them to ride.

Bike fleet

A typically recommended fleet of 50 bikes for a school consists of the below but can vary depending on the makeup of the school roll. E.g. year 1 to year six or year 1 to year 8.

  • 15 x 18-inch bikes
  • 15 x 20-inch bikes
  • 15 x 24-inch bikes
  • 5 x adult step-thru bikes or 5 x small adult mountain bikes

The fleet makeup for intermediate schools is likely to require a smaller range of sizes than a primary school. A mix of 24-inch and small adult bikes should be sufficient but consult a local bike supplier or expert.

Also, getting 2 or 3 x little balance bikes for very small students is strongly recommended. You can see some examples in this Bikes in Pre-Schools video.

Bike examples

ByK E350 Custom, E450 Custom, and E540 Custom:

Shadow 18i, 20i, and 24i:

Cost of the bike fleet

The cost of a full range of sizes to make up an average bike fleet is approx. $10,000 to $15,000 + GST. Prices vary depending on the supplier, brand, bike specifications, and assembly and delivery costs.

Also, check with your supplier whether they include a six-week service check (free or at cost).

Schools must record each bike’s unique identification number and add the bikes and helmets to their school insurance policy. Most schools record their bikes and helmets under sports equipment.

Bike assembly (if required)

Some suppliers include in their quote assembly of the bike fleet. Please check with your supplier if this service is part of the fleet cost.

Many schools have purchased bulk (30+) orders of bikes delivered from the supplier still in their boxes. These bikes will need to be assembled. While a lot of the unpacking of the bikes and some basic assembly work could be done by older students, staff and parents, to ensure the bikes are safe to ride, it is strongly recommended to have the bikes professionally assembled or at least checked over before using any of the bikes. This can be done through a local bike shop or by getting a bike mechanic. It is best to get the work done on the school site as this reduces the need to transport the bikes from one location to another.  

The school should record and store every bike’s serial number as part of the asset register. These can be used to identify bikes if they go missing.

Some suppliers can provide an asset sticker system for a fee to help manage the fleet.


It is recommended that a good quality helmet be available for every child in the school so that there is no need to share helmets. At the start of the project, it is best to fit and name (e.g. Sam W) individual helmets (on the side) for each child. Most schools store the helmets in their classrooms, so they are readily available when the class goes biking.

Graduating students usually hand their helmets back in to be available for new students. Over time as the students’ heads get bigger, some may need to be issued with bigger helmets.

Some schools opt for a shared set of helmets, e.g., 100 of mixed sizes. These are kept in the bike shed or shipping container along with the fleet of bikes.

Helmet types

There are many different brands of helmets available. It is recommended that helmets comply with AS/NZS 2063 helmet standards – check for the official sticker. We also recommend helmets that have easy-to-adjust straps.

Ride9 supplied helmet

  • EPS foam construction with lightweight outer shell
  • Sizes:
    • XXS-XS: 47-53cm
    • S-M: 54-58cm
    • M-L: 58-62cm

Avanti supplied helmet

  • Bell Crest Junior: Fusion In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell
  • Sizes:
    • Universal Youth: 50-57cm
    • Universal Adult: 54-61cm

Colour options for bikes

If possible, we recommend that different sizes be provided in the same colour to make it easier to identify which bike a student should be using, i.e., all the balance bikes are blue, all the 18” bikes are red, and all the 20” bikes are green. Check with your supplier whether they can do this.

Bike and helmet suppliers

There are many bike suppliers across New Zealand. We recommend buying high-quality children’s bikes and helmets to reduce future maintenance requirements. The following two companies supply nationwide and have a good record of supplying schools across New Zealand with bike fleets.

Gather additional quotes

We strongly recommend that schools get additional quotes from local bike shops and other suppliers, including costings for an ongoing maintenance plan and regular fleet servicing.


Pete McIntyre · 021 889 901 ·

My Ride NZ

Cory Cannings · 0800 999 499 ·

Evo Cycles

Richie Stratford · 027 512 7620 ·

Torpedo 7

Emily Fernandes · 021 890 742 ·

Bike Storage

The bikes must be stored in a safe, secure and alarmed (if possible) building within the school grounds. It is recommended that this storage is as close to the bike tracks as possible to allow easy access.

Some schools can store the bikes in an existing shed or an unused classroom. A school may build a purpose-built shed or use a general sports storage shed with sports equipment.

Time spent considering the location and layout of the container is well spent. The primary consideration should be ease of access for teachers and pupils when it is their allotted time to use the bikes.

The majority of schools opt for a specially converted 40-foot shipping container. This usually does not require a building permit as it is not a permanent structure, but please check with your local council. Also, it can be moved around if needed. The container must have a flat floor, not a steel/metal ribbed floor.

Shipping container conversion specifications

The recommended specifications for a Bikes in Schools converted shipping container are:

  • 40′ foot container
  • Internal repaint (light grey) 
  • External repaint with rust protection work done if and where needed 
  • 2 x hinged swing doors installed (re-use the section that was cut out). These are generally 2.0m high and 1.6m wide
  • 1 x welded padlock protective box per door

There are two main door options: roller or hinged. Hinged doors provide better security than roller doors and are often cheaper. A third option is a sliding door.

Some schools with smaller bike fleets or where there may be site challenges have opted to use 20′ shipping containers.


Some schools have added lighting, power outlets, and connections to existing school alarm systems where the container can be sited near an existing school building. There are also wireless alarm systems available.

Remote (internet) security cameras might also be an affordable option.

The welded padlock protective box used with hinged and sliding door fittings can be used with closed-shackle or standard padlocks, providing extra protection for the padlock shackle.

Additional security for roller door option

To increase security some schools have added a simple security gate that fits over the front of their roller doors to increase security. These are very effective. 

Site considerations

It is recommended that the container be kept slightly off the ground if situated on the grass by placing railway sleepers (or similar) underneath. This will allow air to circulate.

Some schools have installed a concrete pad for the container to sit on and a concrete pad in front of the container for the bikes to be parked on during the day. Adding a concrete or asphalt ramp up to the lip of the doors is good to make it easier to get the bikes in and out of the container.

Shipping container delivery

You need to consider putting the container where the bikes are relatively close to the bike tracks.

If you choose a converted 40-foot shipping container, please ensure sufficient access for the container truck to get onto the school grounds and into the correct area. The truck that delivers the container is usually 18m long, so this needs to be taken into account, and the truck has to be able to park parallel to where the container will be placed.

If in doubt, it is recommended to ask the trucking company to do a pre-delivery site visit to your school to check that access for the truck is possible.

Shipping container dimensions

Standard 40-Foot

  • W: 2440mm · H: 2600mm · L: 12200mm

High Cube 40-Foot

  • W: 2440mm · H: 2900mm · L: 12200mm

Ground Footprint: 12.20m x 2.44m


A fully converted and painted 40-foot shipping container with two doors usually costs between $8,000 and $10,000 + GST. Prices can vary depending on the supplier and location of the school.

Colour options

If you want the container to blend in with the natural environment, we suggest Forrest Green. It is possible to get colours to match the school buildings. Ask your supplier for a colour chart. Some schools turn the painting of the container into an art project that tells a story.

Container fit-out options

Many schools install some system for organising the bike fleet and helmet storage inside the container. There are many options available, and it comes down to budget.

  • Some suppliers offer a fit-out option of usually between $1,000 to $3,000. This includes a metal/steel bike rack running along the back wall, the full length of the container, hooks for helmets, and 2 shelves along the back wall (see photos)
  • Often the school staff and/or parents come up with the best and most cost-effective options. One popular option is to upcycle wooden pallets into a bike rack. Some schools paint the pallets to colour-code where to park each different size bike.  Wooden bike racks can also be made out of standard fence palings or MDF cut out with slots and varnished (see photos)

See examples of fit-out options in photos:


Many suppliers across New Zealand sell new or used converted shipping containers. The following four companies have supplied schools with specially converted containers for their Bikes in Schools projects, and both can supply nationwide. Contact them for a quote for your project.

Sea Containers
Call 0508 732 266

Royal Wolf
Call 0800 635 216

Call 027 208 7196

A1 Containers
Call 0800 400 400

Call 0800 818 818

Gather additional quotes

We strongly encourage all schools to get additional quotes from local and national suppliers.

Some ideas for making the most of your container

  • Hang helmets on the opposite internal wall from the bikes for easy access
  • Hang helmets with hooks or a doweling system (using straps and clips)
  • Hang smaller bikes on the back wall, and large bikes with kick-stand or bike racks on the floor
  • Hang bikes using bicycle hooks (available from any hardware store)
  • If possible, keep all the same-sized bikes in groups
  • Use a numbered asset sticker system to identify bikes
  • Top and tail bikes on the floor for more accessible storage (alternating handlebars to the rear wheel)
  • Use a small electric air compressor if possible to pump up tyres
  • Have a bike mechanic repair stand (preferably tripod style) to help with maintenance (available from most bike retailers, but shop around for the best price)
  • If possible, connect to the school alarm system
  • Keep a record of bike brand, size, and serial numbers for insurance purposes; this should be added to the school asset register
  • Add lighting, if possible, and a small tool bench area
  • Use closed shackle padlocks with lockboxes on hinged doors

Bike Tracks

For students to achieve the maximum benefit from the project, it is recommended that, if possible, the school constructs all three bike tracks, Riding, Pump and Skills. Due to land or funding constraints, some schools have decided to construct only one or two of the three tracks.

The Riding Track

This track usually follows the outer edge of the school playing fields so as not to interfere with the established rugby and soccer fields. Some schools have designed tracks that go partway around the fields and then double back and return parallel to the starting point.

The riding track is where the most significant amount of riding (distance and time) is usually done. Large numbers (50+) of children can ride at any time; see here.

Many schools use the main riding track for biking, walking, and running, and schools with swimming pools also use it to run their school triathlons.

Construction of Riding Track – Limestone or similar

  • 2 metres wide (highly recommended)
  • 200 to 700+ metres long, depending on the size of the school
  • 75 to 100 mm deep
  • No straight lines, if possible. Gentle curves are more fun to ride and help keep speeds down
  • Costs vary by region
  • Check with your local builders which surface material is appropriate in your region

See more Riding Track – Limestone or similar construction details: Limesand Track Construction.

While most riding tracks have been built from limestone or similar, some schools have recently used asphalt or hot mix riding tracks. While asphalt tracks usually cost more than limestone, they require much less maintenance, can be used by scooters, and are an excellent all-weather option.

Construction of Riding Track – Asphalt

  • 2 metres wide (highly recommended)
  • 200 to 700+ metres long, depending on the size of the school
  • Basecourse of GAP 40 at 75 to 100mm* deep and 2.5m wide
  • Asphalt 25 to 40mm deep and 2.0m wide
  • No straight lines, if possible. Gentle curves are more fun to ride and help keep speeds down
  • *Depth of base course required can vary; get local advice
  • Costs vary by region

Here’s an example of an asphalt riding track:

The Pump Track

This is very similar to a small BMX track. If done correctly, the children do not pedal but actually “pump” their bikes up and down the slopes to get around the track. It is similar to the movement used to operate a child’s swing. This track “burns” the most calories.

This track is usually the most popular with children as, for many, it is “the most fun” of the three tracks. It is recommended that no more than six students ride this track at any one time.

Ensure the pump track designers and builders are in conversation with the bike provider to ensure the track is designed to suit the children’s bikes you will purchase. Different bikes have different centres of gravity, and it is recommended that you have a child’s bike available on-site while you are building.

Construction of the Pump Track

  • Made mainly from dirt and some limestone along the top
  • It is NOT a jump track
  • Recommend getting a BMX club or professional provider to design and build
  • Cost varies from $3,000 to $8,000 depending on the size and region
  • The size of areas depends on what schools have available but approx. 20m by 20m. Some are as small as 5m by 15m if that is all the available space

A small number of schools have built asphalt pump tracks; see here.

The Bike Skills Track

This comprises a limestone track that takes the rider over several obstacles. This track is often the most challenging, requiring the rider to concentrate and ride very slowly. It is particularly good for improving hand-eye coordination.

This see-saw is the most challenging and popular obstacle for children. It is recommended that no more than six students ride this track at any one time.

A few schools have gone for asphalt as this reduces ongoing maintenance needed.

Construction of the Skills Track

  • Limestone is recommended
  • Features wooden skinnies, slalom, seesaw and other skills-related activities
  • Strongly recommend getting this built by an experienced provider
  • Approx costs $6,000 to $10,000 depending on size, number of obstacles and region
  • The size of areas depends on what schools have available, but approx 10m by 30m

See our very detailed guide: How to build a Skills Track.

Cycle Skills Training

It is strongly recommended to have intro cycle skills training on-site for all students from the track’s first opening. These trainers might also be able to help oversee the fitting of the helmets, help children select the correct size bike to ride, explain to teachers and students how to ride the different tracks, teach basic bike riding skills, as well as introduce some bike exercises and games for the students.

We recommend that schools contact their local cycle skill providers (usually the local council, Regional Sports Trust or Police) in advance to have this training booked from the start.

Auckland Transport funds Cycle Skills Training at all the Auckland Bikes in Schools projects in Auckland. Many regional or local councils such as Wellington, Palmerston North and Christchurch support their local Bikes in Schools projects with cycle skills training for students and staff.

Costs and Funding

What are the approx costs for an average school of 300 students?

(These costs are very approximate, vary significantly by region, and are exclusive of GST)

150 bikes$16,000 The number of bikes may vary
2100 helmets$ 2,000Includes small, medium and large
3300 (limestone) Riding track$30,000 Length will impact the cost
4Pump track$ 8,000 Highly recommended
5Skills track$ 10,000 Highly recommended
6Bike storage$14,000Converted container if required
Average Total Cost$80,000(limestone)

Please note that these are estimated costs for a limestone track project. A similar project with asphalt tracks will cost approximately $125,000.

Ongoing annual bike and track maintenance costs are approx. $3,000pa. We strongly recommend that all schools allocate this funding to their operational budget so it’s available when required. Costs may be lower for schools with smaller rolls.

Some costs can vary by region. While bikes and helmets are standard throughout the country, track building costs can vary significantly between cities and even construction companies within an area. It is best to get as many quotes as possible.

The material cost (limestone or soft metal) for the main riding track can also vary significantly by region.

Overall costs can also be reduced by:

  • Constructing only one or two of the three different tracks
  • Purchasing fewer bikes
  • Purchasing fewer helmets and making children share (not recommended)
  • Already having a secure space available for bike storage
  • Having the track construction work done “in kind” or “at cost” by local companies. This has the potential to generate the most significant savings for a school.
  • Having the track material (e.g. limestone) provided “in kind” or “at cost” by a local supplier. This also has the potential to generate significant savings for a school.

Gather additional quotes

We strongly recommend that schools get multiple (3) quotes for each item (bikes, tracks, containers etc.) to ensure they get the best value for their school. We also recommend that schools talk to other nearby schools that have already implemented Bikes in Schools in their area to get feedback and recommendations from the suppliers and contractors that they used. It is also an excellent opportunity to see the project in action and get general advice from those schools.

See here for a map of Bikes in Schools locations.

Who are the possible funders and support providers for the project?

So far, funding for all the schools’ projects has come from a diverse range of funders. It is recommended that, if possible, the school wait until all or most of the required funding is gained before building the tracks. This makes things easier and may mean that the different contractors can work on-site and utilise each other’s equipment.

Some local contractors may offer some services or products in kind.

Possible funders and support providers could include:

  • Community Groups, Foundations and Trusts (e.g. Lion Foundation)
  • Local councils (this is becoming very common)
  • Public and Private businesses (local contractors)
  • Government Agencies (e.g. DHB and PHO)
  • Individuals and non-profit groups (e.g. Bike On NZ Charitable Trust)
  • Parents or families within the school community

In some cases, the MoE also allows schools to use their property budget (5YP) towards the cost of building tracks. Please see this press release for more details.

The NZ Government press release.

BOT approval and Bikes in Schools

We recommend that all schools formally confirm BOT approval before fundraising and implementing their Bikes in Schools project. Most funders will require confirmation of BOT support (letter) for the project and a minuted resolution about where, who, and how much is being applied for to be included in the actual funding application. We also recommend that all schools formally allocate $3,000 pa from their operational budget to maintain the bikes and tracks and show this to potential funders when making grant applications.  


Track Maintenance

The main requirement to maintain the tracks is usually just occasional weed spraying across the top of the tracks as required if a 100mm deep track has been built. More regular weed spraying will be needed around the outside edges of the riding track.

The pump track and skills track will also require weed spraying to keep them in good condition and clear of grass and vegetation. Pump tracks with a limestone surface may need a light top-up once a year.

Most schools include track maintenance work in their standard school maintenance program, which their caretaker/property manager takes care of. Another option would be to have an annual bike track school working bee or get back the company that built the track.

As you can see in this video clip, the use of a Levelling Bar makes the construction and maintenance of a limestone Riding Track much easier:

Also, as shown in this video, the use of a Power Broom is great for tidying up the Skills Track:

Bike Maintenance

To ensure that your fleet of bikes stays well maintained and safe, we strongly recommend that your school follows this simple bike maintenance schedule: Bike Maintenance Schedule.

This BikeWise Safety Check is also handy: BikeWise Seven Point Safety Check.

The bikes will require regular checking to ensure the tyres are pumped up and that the chains are oiled. Some schools have student ‘bike monitors’ who are selected students who take care of these tasks regularly.

In summary, the most effective way to keep bikes well-maintained and safe is to:

  • Purchase good quality bikes
  • Ensure the bikes are kept out of the rain
  • Store the bikes in a secure place every night
  • Keep the tyres pumped up
  • Lubricate the chains regularly
  • Check the brakes every time the bike is ridden
  • Check regularly that all nuts and bolts remain tight
  • Have a bike mechanic check the bikes at least once a year

Bike Maintenance Videos

This website has an excellent range of simple videos that cover all aspects of bike maintenance and repair:

We also recommend Auckland Transport’s range of simple “maintenance 101” videos: Auckland Transport Bike Maintenance 101 playlist.

Bike Shed Manual

This Bike Shed Manual provides detailed information to help the school maintain their Bikes in Schools bike fleets.  

School “Bike Tips” Signage

It is recommended that schools put up some Bike Tips signage that provides some basic safety messages and information for all users. Please see some examples from Wellington City Council and Palmerston North City Council.

Example 1 (PDF)
Example 2 (PDF)
Example 3 (PDF)

Opening Event


Most schools launch their Bikes in Schools project with an official opening. Usually, it involves special guests such as the local Mayor, MP or a famous sportsperson to open it. Parents, the local community, and local media (and sometimes national) are always invited. Each school puts their style onto the event.

Some schools put out a simple press release about the event detailing the different funders.

Schools also use the opening to publicly thank the funders and supporters who have helped make the project a reality. The opening event at every school has also led to positive press coverage and publicity for each school. Often the schools have an acknowledgement / thank you sign to publicly thank all funders for contributing to their Bikes in Schools project.

Please see our media page for examples of media coverage of opening events.


BikeReady is New Zealand’s national cycling education system. It provides age and skill-level-appropriate cycle skills training (to schools) delivered by professional instructors contracted to a school’s local council or other local providers. Please note that there is no charge for BikeReady cycle skills training.

Click here for more information about BikeReady cycle skills training

Helmet and Bike Check

It is essential to ensure that helmets are fitted correctly and bikes are in good

Check your helmet

Helmets are the best way to protect our heads, which are worth
protecting. We must all ensure our helmets fit well to do their job properly.

Follow these three easy steps:

  1. Put two fingers above your eyebrow; your helmet should touch your
    top finger.
  2. Make a “V” shape with two fingers on both hands and slide it under
    your ears. Your 4 straps should be firm on your fingers.
  3. Lastly, put one finger under the strap beneath your chin. This should
    also be firm.

If you or your friends have a crash, you must tell an adult, especially if you
bang your head – just in case you need to see a doctor.

See here for more helmet-fitting information.

Check your Bike

Check your bike every time you go for a ride, especially if you haven’t ridden it
for a while. It’s simple – you must remember your ABC every time you ride.

A. You need to check your Air to make sure your bike has properly pumped-
up tyres

B. Brakes – make sure your bike has working back and front brakes

C. And lastly, your Chain – you need to keep your chain well-oiled.

See here for more bike check information.