Some great stories coming out of Freemans Bay School in Auckland, which was featured on the front page of the Education Gazette this week (you can read the full article here)
The Freemans Bay track opened back in March this year (our original blog and pics are here), thanks to support from a range of sponsors. It was opened by Associate Minister for Education Nikki Kaye MP, and we were sure at the time that the kids were going to really love using it because the school is located in inner-city Auckland, where there’s not much space to get out and play – especially on bikes.
And the story in the Education Gazette confirms that and more. Just a few months in, it’s becoming very clear what an impact the track has had:
It’s a community asset that is used by families across the area. BoT chair Peter Bateman recently noticed a child’s birthday party being held at the track. “I was walking by the school on the weekend when I came across a birthday party, involving some boys at the school, and their families and friends. It was great to see the children riding around on their bikes in a group like that. We’re all about the community, and building those community links.”
The number of kids biking to school has increased – the school has had to look at installing cycle racks for the first time. It started happening before the track opened, when groups of kids came at the weekend to try it out. “In nearly 20 years’ involvement at the school, that was the first time that I’d seen kids bringing their bikes to the school grounds”.
The track helps with cycle safety; Peter says: “Many of our students didn’t have anywhere to safely ride a bike, or even to learn to ride a bike, for that matter.”
The last word needs to go to the adventurous Paige from Freemans Bay, who told the Gazette:
“At the start of the year I couldn’t even ride a bike and now I can ride standing up and with one hand. I am so happy that the school got a bike track because now I can go on long bike rides with the rest of my family. Now that I am riding my bike every week I am getting physically fitter and I am happier for some reason”