Instructor Aaron Jeffs checking refurbished bike.Offenders around New Zealand are supporting Go by Bike Day by repairing bikes and building bike tracks.

This year the Bikewise national annual Go by Bike day will be held on Wednesday 8 February, where Kiwis will leave their cars behind and get on their bikes, cycling to work or school.

Corrections has been embracing the Go by Bike philosophy all year round, with a range of initiatives around the country involving bikes.

“Getting involved in these projects, building bike tracks and repairing bikes, helps offenders to gain constructive life and employment skills while giving back to the community,” says Rachel Leota, Deputy National Commissioner.

Tongariro Prison’s bike repair shop recently celebrated two years of service to the community and has repaired and rehomed hundreds of bikes for local children. Last year also saw the implementation of bike recycling projects at Auckland and Rimutaka Prisons and at Christchurch Men’s Prison youth unit, prisoners have been fixing bikes to gift to prisoners on release so that they have a mode of transport to get to work.

“Research tells us that assisting prisoners to reintegrate into the community and giving them opportunities to learn and practise these skills, can help them find sustainable work after release and decrease the likelihood of them re-offending,” says Rachel. “It can also get them thinking about their own health and wellbeing, and encourage them to make positive lifestyle choices.”

“Our staff are also encouraged to get on their bikes and be active, with some sites having bikes available for staff to ride from the gatehouse and across the sites.”

It’s not just in prison, out in the community offenders on community work sentences have also been involved in the development of bike tracks and repairing bikes for donation.

“The local communities have been very grateful for the help of these offenders,” says Rachel.

To find out how to donate:

South Island Contact:

Carey Ewing
Pathway
Phone: 03 982 1952
Email: carey@pathway.org.nz