Bikes in Schools: Detailed

Skip to a section:

  1. What makes up Bikes in Schools?
  2. Costs and Funding
  3. Maintenance
  4. Opening Event
  5. BikeReady
  6. ACC SportSmart Bike Basics Videos and Posters
  7. Classroom Teaching Resources

1. 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 then continue to service them on a regular basis (see Bike Maintenance section).

The largest bike can also be used by the teachers. It is recommended that step-through bikes are used as these 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 make-up of the school roll. E.g. year 1 to year 6 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 for a primary school. A mix of 24 inch and small adult bikes should be sufficient but consult a local bike supplier or bike expert for advice.

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

Bike examples

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 can 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 need to record the unique identification number of each bike and also add the bikes and helmets to their overall 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 provided as part of the fleet cost.

Many schools have purchased bulk (30+) orders of bikes that are 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 any of the bikes are used.   This can be done through a local bike shop or by getting a bike mechanic to do it. 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.  

It is recommended that the individual bike serial number for every bike is recorded and stored by the school 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 is available for every child in the school so that there is no need to share helmets. It is best at the start of the project 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 easily available for when the class goes biking.

Graduating students usually hand their helmets back in so they are 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.

Ride 9  Supplied HelmetsAvanti Supplied Helmet
Pulse FS114 EPS foam construction with lightweight outer shell XXS–XS = 47–53CM
S–M = 54–58CM
M–L = 58–62CM
Bell Crest Junior Fusion In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell Universal Youth: 50–57cm
Universal Adult: 54–61cm

Colour options for bikes

We recommend that if possible different sizes are 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, 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 both supply nationwide and have a good record supplying schools across New Zealand with bike fleets.

Gather additional quotes

We strongly recommend all schools to also 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 New Zealand
Cory Cannings 
0800 999 499

Evo Cycles
Richie Stratford  
027 512 7620

Torpedo 7
Emily Fernandes
021 890 742 

Sophie Baggs
021 165 8311

Bike Storage

It is essential that the bikes are 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 are able to store the bikes in an existing shed or an unused classroom. A school may decide to build a purpose-built shed or use a general sports storage shed that includes their sports equipment.

Time spent considering the location and layout of the container is well spent. The main consideration should be ease of access for teachers and/or 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 do check with your local council. Also, it can be moved around if required. The container needs to 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 and 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 an affordable option.

The welded padlock protective box used with hinged and sliding door fittings can be used with closed shackle padlocks or standard padlocks. These provide 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 is kept slightly off the ground if being 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, as well as a concrete pad in front of the container for the bikes to be parked on during the day. It is good to add a concrete or asphalt ramp up to the lip of the doors so to make it easier to get the bikes in and out of the container.

Shipping container delivery

You need to think about putting the container in a place where the bikes are relatively close to the bike tracks.

If you do choose a converted 40-foot shipping container, please ensure that there is 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 in length, 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 the access for the truck is possible.

You do need to think about putting the container in a place where the bikes are relatively close to the bike tracks.

Shipping container dimensions

Standard 40 Foot Shipping Container dimensions:

W = 2440mm
H = 2600mm
L = 12200mm

High Cube 40 Foot Shipping Container dimensions:

W = 2440mm
H = 2900mm
L = 12200mm

Basically the ground footprint is 12.20m x 2.44m.


The cost of a fully converted and painted 40-foot shipping container with two doors is usually 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 with 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, full length of the container, hooks for helmets, and 2 shelves along the back wall (see photos)
  • It is often the school staff and/or parents who 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:


There are many suppliers across New Zealand that sell new or used converted shipping containers.  The following two 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 0800 862 892

Gather additional quotes

We strongly encourage all schools to also get additional quotes from other 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 doweling system (using straps and clips)
  • Hang smaller bikes on the back wall, and large bikes with kick-stand or bike rack 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 easier 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 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 lockbox on hinged doors

Bike Tracks

It is recommended that for students to achieve the maximum benefit from the project 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 very outer edge of the schools playing fields so as not to interfere with the established rugby and soccer fields etc. Some schools have designed tracks that go part way around the fields and then double back and return parallel to the starting point.

The riding track is where the greatest amount of riding (distance and time) is usually done. It is possible for large numbers (50+) of children to ride at any one time, see here.

Many schools use the main riding track for not just biking but also walking and running, and schools with swimming pools also use it to run their school triathlons.

Construction of Riding Track – Limestone or similar

Recommended Specs

  • 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

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

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

Construction of Riding Track – Asphalt

Recommended specs

  • 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 sizes bikes you will purchase. Different bikes have different centres of gravity. It is recommended that you have a child’s bike available on site while you are building.

Construction of the Pump Track

  • Made mainly for from dirt and some limestone along the top
  • It is NOT a jump track
  • Recommend to get a BMX club or professional provider to design and build
  • Cost varies from $3,000 to $8,000 depending on the size and region
  • 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 is made up of a limestone track that takes the rider over a series of obstacles. This track is often the most challenging as it requires the rider to concentrate and ride very slowly. It is particularly good for improving hand-eye coordination.

This see-saw is the most difficult and popular obstacle for the 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 cost $6,000 to $10,000 depending on size, number of obstacles and region
  • 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 provided on-site for all students from the first day the track opens. 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 track, teach basic bike riding skills, as well as introducing some bike exercises and games for the students.

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

In Auckland, Auckland Transport fund Cycle Skills Training at all the Auckland Bikes in Schools projects. 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.

2. 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$14,000 Numbers of bikes may vary
2100 helmets$ 2,000Includes small, medium and large
3300 (limestone) Riding track$20,000 Length will impact cost
4Pump track$ 6,000 Highly recommended
5Skills track$ 8,000 Highly recommended
6Bike storage$10,000Converted container if required
Average Total Cost$60,000(limestone)

Please note that these are estimated costs for a limestone track project. A similar project with asphalt tracks will cost approximately a total of $100,000.

Ongoing annual bike and track maintenance costs are approx. $3,000pa. We strongly recommend that all schools allocate this funding in 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 the costs for bikes and helmets are standard throughout the country, track building costs can vary greatly between cities and even construction companies within an area. It is best to get as many quotes as possible.

The cost of the material (usually limestone or soft metal) used for the main riding track can also vary greatly 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 make 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 biggest 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 the major 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 are getting 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 a great opportunity to see the project in action and get some 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?

Funding for all the schools’ projects so far 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 has been gained before beginning to build the tracks. This makes things easier in general and may mean that the different contractors can work on-site and utilise each other’s equipment.

Some local contractors may be able to offer some services or product 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 all schools formally confirm BOT approval before beginning the fundraising and implementing of their Bikes in Schools project.  Most funders will require confirmation of BOT support (letter) for the project as well as 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 for the maintenance of the bikes and tracks and that they show this to potential funders when doing grant applications.  

3. Maintenance

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 required around the outside edges of the riding track.

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

Most schools include the track maintenance work into their normal school maintenance
program, and it is taken care of by their caretaker/property manager. 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 very useful: 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 that take care of these tasks on a regular basis.

Other schools arrange for some parents (or grandparents) to come to the school to do these tasks. It is recommended that the school establishes a relationship with a local bike shop for them to come in and thoroughly check the bikes at least once a year and to complete mechanical repairs as required.

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 on a regular basis
  • 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, here: Auckland Transport Bike Maintenance 101 playlist

Bike Shed Manual

This Bike Shed Manual provides detailed information to helps the school with the maintenance of 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 here for some examples from Wellington City Council and Palmerston North City Council.

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

4. 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 and the local community as well as local media (and sometimes national) are also always invited. Each school puts their style onto the event.

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

The opening is also used by schools to publicly thank the funders and supporters who have helped make the project a reality. The opening event at every school so far has also lead to very positive press coverage and publicity for each school. Often the schools have an acknowledgement / thank you sign put up to publicly thank all funders for their contribution to their Bikes in Schools project.

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

5. BikeReady

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

Click here for more information about BikeReady cycle skills training

6. ACC SportSmart Bike Basics Videos and Posters

It is important to ensure that helmets are fitted correctly and bikes are in good condition.

Check your helmet:

Helmets are the best way to protect our heads and our heads are worth protecting! We all need to make sure that our helmets fit well so that they can do their job properly. Follow these three easy steps:

1. Put two fingers above your eyebrow, your helmet should just touch your top finger
2. Make a “V” shape with two fingers on both hands and slide 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 need to tell an adult, especially if you bang your head – just in case you need to see a doctor.

Check your Bike:

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

A. You need to check your Air – 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.

Check out this short video:

Download the ACC posters:

ACC Helmet Check Poster (2-4-1)
ACC Bike Check Poster (ABC) 

7. Classroom Teaching Resources

Schools with Bikes in Schools projects, or similar, have found these biking-related teaching resources beneficial to support their projects.

ACC and the NZ Transport Agency’s have developed some BikeReady curriculum resources (written by Pam Hook) for schools which are directly aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum achievement objectives.

Greater Wellington Regional Council and Enviroschools (Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui) have developed an Active Travel Action curriculum resource that proves a process for schools to implement sustainable active transport practices through student inquiry.

Greater Wellington Regional Council has also produced this handy Bikes in Schools; Schools Guide which is available for all schools.

Auckland Transport provides an extensive range of Travelwise Resources for teachers and students to encourage safe behaviour and sustainable travel habits