SHIFT, a Raglan mountainbike revolution

Raglan Area School students are shifting into gear and jumping to new heights with mountain biking lessons from one of the best in New Zealand.

Former RAS student, Lewis Jones, from 360 Bike Coaching and winner in NZ Dirt Jump National events is putting the freestyle riders through their paces as they learn new skills and tricks making them better riders.

Organised by Raglan Rock director Gareth Jones, the classes are held at various locations in Raglan at lunchtimes with a session on Tuesday for the juniors and the seniors on Friday.

“There is the potential to make a real positive push in the emerging revolution for mountain biking and biking in Raglan,” he says. “I want to see the next generation make Raglan a more cycle friendly community.”

Interest in the lessons has taken off since they were introduced last year, and Gareth and Lewis are hoping to keep momentum going for the rest of year, and into the future.

“Biking is really good for [the] health and wellbeing of the students, they are overcoming fears, challenging themselves and building perseverance.”

The school is grateful for funding from Meridian, which meant they could purchase 10 bikes for the programme and cater for students without bikes.

Gareth says the school has noticed an increase in bike usage since the classes began and they are even looking into buying more bike racks to keep up with the demand.

“We want to create a positive culture around biking and get even more students cycling to school.”

The growing interest worldwide in both mountain and freestyle biking means more sporting and career prospects in the future, Gareth says.

“These sports used to be fringe activities but now they are legitimate sports with opportunities for competitions, sponsorship, and could lead to designing and building tracks around the world.”

Gareth and Lewis are aiming to get as many students as they can to enter the NZ Dirt Jump Nationals at the end of the year.

They are also keen to generate interest in after school programmes for the youth in the surrounding community.

Next term RAS students who attend every session throughout the term will be in with a chance to win a BMX bike.

Janine Jackson

For more information contact and to book school sessions, register at school reception. $5 per class.