Auckland dad turns school bike train passion into full-time job

An Auckland father of three has turned his passion project into a full-time job alongside Auckland Transport.

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Matt Fordham kickstarted the Pt Chevalier bike train four years ago. Source: Seven Sharp

Matt Fordham kick-started the Pt Chevalier school bike train four-years-ago to get more kids active and reduce congestion in the neighbourhood.

A rotating roster of peddling parents supervises the ride and ensures road safety using Fordham’s Power Up programme.

“Power up has four things included in it, so there’s walking school buses, bike trains, there’s the street trials were doing around the pick-up and drop off time and there’s the play street event which is a day at the schools where the kids can use the street,” he told Seven Sharp.

With the support of Auckland Transport, Fordham now helps other communities get moving.

“We started building a prototype app which we trialled here for about a year and then pitched that to people at Auckland Transport, also Waka Kotahi, and said why don’t we try something a little bit bigger so that’s ended up in four schools now.”

The app logs the distance travelled and once the participants reach a certain milestone, they are rewarded.

“The first badge is for when you do three rides on the bike train and the second one, the lightning bolt one, is for when you do 10 rides,” five-year-old Sabeen explained of the reward system.

In the last 16 days the four participating schools have logged 500 kilometres, that’s nearly the same distance from Auckland to Wellington.

“There’s a lot of benefits to do with kids health educational outcomes, with kids who are arriving at school with their blood pumping ready to learn,” Fordham explained.