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Bike recycling project donates to local school

11 December 2021
Gary Hero

Children from Fergusson Intermediate School received 30 bikes as part of the Rimutaka Prison’s bike recycling partnership between Upper Hutt City Council, the Regional Council, and Cycle Centre.

Two men from Rimutaka Prison undertook the mammoth task of upcycling donated second-hand bikes into quality, refurbished bikes before gifting it to those who would not normally access them.

Corrections Officer Gary Greer, who is also a qualified bike mechanic, helps the men with training and support to ensure they are refurbished to a safe standard.

Gary says bikes are donated from the public and are brought into the prison where a mechanic strips the bikes down to the frame in a workshop in Unit 7.

"Some parts, for example the handlebars, are sanded down and resprayed. Wheels are checked and any broken spokes are replaced and the wheels are trued up. If they are unrepairable, we have a selection of used parts that we use to replace," says Gary.

Gary says most bikes that are donated are trashed as they are too rusty or worn out. "My mechanic does an exceptional job restoring them with the resources we have."

Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy attended the event and said, “it was a great example of the community working together.  It’s great to see people donating bikes that are going back into our community. It’s more sustainable and benefits the children in our schools. Win-win.”

The project started in 2016 and has since donated nearly 500 bikes back into the local community. This year it was extended to support the local school bike programme.

Ed Banks, a teacher from Fergusson Intermediate, thanked the men for their work and said the bikes were going to help with building confidence outside the classroom.

“Our vision is to ‘Amplify the Awesome’, in this case, we can amplify their confidence as cyclists, their physical activity and the accessibility of bikes to a larger number of students.”

Learning and Interventions Manager Aaron Jeffs says, “the men love working on the bikes and learning transferable skills that they can pass onto their own whānau. Knowing the bikes are having a positive impact in the community gives them a sense of pride and achievement.”

Fergusson Intermediate is the first of five local schools to receive bikes from the project. Other recipients include local families.

To donate your unwanted or unused bikes or if you know someone who needs a bike, but is not in a position to purchase one, visit the Bike Recycling Project page on the Upper Hutt City Council website.

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