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The humble bicycle.

Out of necessity or by choice, the two-wheeled mode of transport is as prevalent on our roads as it's ever been. For some however getting hold of a bike is just not possible due to financial constraints or simply not having ready access to one.

That's set to change, thanks to the return of Pathway's bike programme. First established about 10 years ago as a way to provide transport for prisoners on release who did not have a driver's licence, the idea was to take old, unwanted bicycles, preferably mountain bikes, that have been donated or dumped and teach those in the prison's youth unit how to restore them under the tutelage of an experienced bike mechanic.

It ran for six years – with about 50 bikes being restored annually – before disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic put the brakes on. One of the massive benefits of the programme was that some bikes went to our Tū Ora, to give them a head start on release.

For them an efficient, cost-effective mode of transport to get to work if they've secured employment, appointments, or any Pathway and community-led programmes they're part of, can make all the difference in settling back into life on the outside.

This will continue as part of the programme, which is also promoting bike mechanics as a career, a hobby, or simply a skill that can be leaned on when needed.

Bikes that can be restored are also used by Department of Corrections staff at the prison to get around and while road and children's bikes are restored too they are sold off to raise money for parts.

The programme is another great example of a community-led initiative behind prison walls that is directly benefiting our people on their journey towards a fresh start.

If you have a mountain bike or kid’s bike lying around that you’d like to donate, please get in touch! Call us on (03) 982 1952.


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