Connor Heaphy trying out the new shared pump track with St Joseph’s and Nelson Central School. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Schools pumping with brand new bike track

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St Joseph’s School is the latest on a fast-growing list of schools around the region to receive its very own pump track.

The track, which is being shared with Nelson Central School, has been funded by Bike in Schools Charitable Trust, and the Nelson City Council, as well as fundraising efforts from the school community.

PTA member Irene Firestone says the feedback from children has been “absolutely phenomenal” and seeing the community and families coming and using it over the weekend is “just awesome”.

She says the idea came from school-wide community feedback four years ago, which asked people about areas they wanted to see upgraded.

“A pump track was something that was identified. It’s taken a while to get to this point but when Bikes in Schools came on board it was like ‘wow, we actually can do this.’ So, it was really exciting when that happened.”

Part of the obligation when receiving money from the Bike in Schools initiative is that a portion of the money is used to buy bikes to house onsite.

For both St Joseph’s and Nelson Central, a fleet of 50 bikes was the required amount, ranging in sizes so all age groups can use them.

“It means that every kid will have the opportunity to ride a bike and, in theory, no child should leave this school not being able to ride a bike,” says Irene.

St Joseph’s principal Chris Gladstone says she hopes the new track will be the place where a lifelong interest in biking can be sparked.

“It’s so cool seeing the kids get out there and get physical and develop those skills, it’s socially inclusive and fun.”

Year 8 student Charlie Weaver spoke at the opening of the track and says he remembers the day he and his brothers found out about the pump track – three years ago.

“As the saying goes, good things take time, but now I get to do my three favourite things – playing, fixing and riding bikes”

Charlie is part of the maintenance team who spend break times maintaining the bikes, fixing any problems as people are riding, and ensuring that each child has a bike that fits them.