Pupils at Upper Hutt’s Maoribank School were over the moon with their near-new wheels this Christmas.Pupils at Upper Hutt’s Maoribank School have some near-new wheels this Christmas, thanks to an ongoing community bike drive.

The school recently received 16 donated bikes that were refurbished by prisoners in Rimutaka Prison as part of the community bike recycling project.

The bike project is a partnership between Rimutaka Prison, Upper Hutt City’s Activation Team, The Cycle Centre and Upper Hutt City Council to refurbish old bikes that are then donated back to the local community.

Richard Simpson, Principal Corrections Officer says it’s a terrific project to be involved in. “The benefits reach far and wide. Not only do local children get the joy of a near-new bike to ride, the men who repaired them are learning new skills and enjoying giving back to the community.”

Since the project started in August 2016, more than 300 bikes have been stripped, serviced and spruced up by prisoners in a bike workshop in Rimutaka Prison.

The bikes are checked for roadworthiness by qualified bicycle mechanic Andrew Hanlon from The Cycle Centre in Upper Hutt.  Around 130 have been donated back to the community.

Maoribank Principal Karen Wellington said it was a fantastic initiative. “The kids will love to ride their bikes over the summer holidays. We’re very grateful.”

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy was on hand when the children received their bikes.  “It’s exciting to see kids being given something they never had,” he says.  “It’s great to see their faces light up.” He also thanked the partners involved in the project.

The goal of the project is to provide quality refurbished bikes to the local community who wouldn’t normally have access to a bike.

Every refurbished bike comes with a care package that includes helmet, high vis vest as well as information about cycle safety. Heretaunga Rotary has provided the helmets.

To donate a bike to the project, email RimutakaPSBicycleRecyclingPro@corrections.govt.nz