Getting Schoolkids Back on their Bikes

ByK Bikes recently featured in the popular NZ publication North&South. The article highlighted the inroads being made by Bike On's Bikes in Schools program where ByK kids bikes are being given to schools to get kids riding again. The Full Article: byk_bikes_north_south"In Europe, people cycle everywhere. Growing up as a Kiwi kid, Paul McArdie did too. So when he moved back home with his family after spending 12 years as a banker in Amsterdam, he was shocked to discover children who bike to school are becoming an endangered species.. With his wife, Meg Fratner, McArdie founded Bike On NZ ( and funded a Bikes in Schools pilot programme at their children's school, St Mary's Primary in Hastings - donating 62 new bicycles and 225 indivdually named and fitted helmets. A 550m all-weather limestone bike track was built around the sports field, along with two BMX-style pump tracks and a skills track designed by mountain-bike specialists the Kennett brothers. The work was done whilt eh school was closed for holidays. "Kids were trhowing their bikes over a 10-foot fence to get to the tracks," says McArdie. "We knew we were on to something if they were breaking into school during the holidays." Biking is now part of the daily PE curriculum at St Mary's, which won an ASB Cycle Friendly Award last year, and the loop track has been used for triathlon training. "For some five-year-olds, this is where they learn to ride," says McArdie, who hopes that encouraging cycling will ease traffic congestion, improve fitness levels and might even help to reverse the country's high obestiy rate. The programme has proved such a success it's been extended to two other local schools, Peterhead Primary in Flaxmere and Maraenui Primary in Napier, after Bike On NZ (which has been set up as a charitable trust) helped to riase the $50,000 needed to fund each project. The trust is also campaigning to get more teenage girls cycling regularly and has donated mountain bikes to police stations in Taupo, Hawke's Bay, the Waikato and Wanganui.  Another initiative, Re:Cycle, has salvaged mre than 100 bikes from the Hastings dump for repair, and they'll be put up for sale at affordable prices in February." Written by Joanna Wane