School given bicycles

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Extra wheels .Idea Services bike project team members present restored bicycles to Mataura School pupils. PHOTO: ASHLEIGH MARTIN

Mataura School pupils now have 12 extra sets of wheels thanks to Invercargill “bike doctor” Tony Tresidder and his team of bicycle repairers.

Idea Services bike project team members recently gave 12 recycled bikes to the decile 2 school for pupils to use.

Mataura School principal Susan Dennison said she was thrilled with the bikes and felt privileged to be associated with Idea Services, which is part of IHC.

She decided the best way to use the bikes was to have them available in the playground for all the children to use, Mrs Dennison said.

They would also be available at weekends and would be brightly painted and labelled with the name of the school to prevent them from being stolen, Mrs Dennison said.

Now all she had to manage was the speed of the bikes around the playground.

“But it’s a nice problem to have.”

The school had also been given helmets for the children to use, she said.

Another donation of tyres had meant an expansion of the bike track area in the school grounds could be carried out.

The Idea Services bike project, which is being supported by the IHC Southland Association, repairs unused or damaged bikes donated by the community.

Idea Services manager Jo Fredericks-Rizzi said since the scheme started in mid-2011 more than 200 bikes had been distributed to charities, low-decile schools and community organisations in Invercargill and the Southland district.

It had enabled many people with disabilities to learn how to maintain and repair bikes.

They carried out a schedule of repairs, including unscrewing bolts, removing brake cables and hand grips, dismantling and assembling bikes, cleaning brake blocks, fixing punctures, oiling chains and washing or painting bikes, Ms Fredericks-Rizzi said.

About five or six people worked on the bikes every Tuesday and Thursday.

Renovated bikes were then checked over by “bike doctor” Mr Tresidder and given a warrant of fitness, before being presented to schools, churches or community organisations, usually by bike project team members.

It was a fantastic way for people with disabilities to connect with and contribute to the Southland community.