Warrnambool's Merri River School has upgraded its bicycle education program with 10 new bikes after a Fonterra grant.
Physical education teacher Aidan Nicolson said the $4400 grant allowed for the cost of the bikes from Bicycle Centre Warrnambool to be completely covered, giving a significant boost to the independence program.
"We have a strong emphasis on the bike education program," he said. "A lot of our students won't be able to get their car licence so they will be relying on bike travel to get to and from places. Having riding knowledge and skills creates a level of independence for them.
"When we built the school we ensured there was a purpose-built bike education track; that explains how important these classes are."
Mr Nicolson said the school's old fleet of bicycles cost about $1200 yearly in maintenance fees.
The school is planning to further expand the current bike track with traffic lights designed by Brauer College students and the building of a rail-trail.
"The next part of the program will see us start our fundraising campaign to build our own rail-trail to the Merri River," Mr Nicolson said "We're on about 17 acres here and we'd love to have a crushed rock track with a one-kilometre loop ride to the river.
"We're hoping to also put in break-out sections with bumps and jumps.
"We want to be able to take the kids out for a longer ride."
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Fonterra Cobden site manager Nick Hayes was thrilled the donation could enable the 170 student body to continue growing their skills.
"I got to see the school get built and to see what it can accomplish, I'm so impressed," he said.
"I'm having flashbacks from when I got around with my friends. The independence and joy of being able to get around is so clear here today."
Farm Source regional manager Andrew Nevill said the education program would help the students for years to come.
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