Paekākāriki Bike Library founder gets lifetime achievement award

Jan Nisbet started the Paekākāriki Bike Library when a new cycle path to Raumati meant students could cycle to a nearby college and save their parents money.

"I thought, let's encourage kids, but there was a problem - not everyone has access to bikes. Also, they're growing very fast so I thought I'd put a call out for bikes," Ms Nisbet said.

The library currently has 300 bikes on loan. All have been donated and the library and bike servicing is run by volunteers.

Ms Nisbet was this week presented with a lifetime achievement award by the Cycling Action Network.

"Why did I get it? They probably made it up, but I've been involved with biking for quite a long time," she said.

"But not when I was little, I rode a horse to school!"

The library's priced according to what people can afford. 

"It's $10 for anyone with a Community Services Card, or between $25 and $35," Ms Nisbet explained.

"We always say more if you'd like to give us a donation - and many people do!"

That's the fee for a whole year.  Donations go towards helmets and locks. 

"Any time a child grows out of their bike, in the same year, they can swap it for a bigger bike," Ms Nisbet said.

Ms Nisbet also established the Kapiti Womens' Triathlon that's been running for 35 years after noticing a lack of female competitors in the area.

"I was standing on the start line of the 1984 Coast to Coast in the dark, as you do. There were three women and 50 men and I though, that's not very good," she said.

Ms Nisbet said cycling's boomed since shared pathways were created along the Kapiti Expressway, but she'd like to see better cycling networks everywhere to get more people on bikes.

"I know it's hard retro-fitting infrastructure, but where there's a will there's a way," she said.