Friday, December 04, 2015

Schools and bicycles in Viernheim

A quick tale to cheer the heart, which in times like this, we all need.
Viernheim has an extensive sport park to the west of the town (or city if you're an American). There are two secondary schools, one secular and one Roman Catholic about 2km away north east of the town. The schools have sports lessons at the park that are two teaching periods, i.e. 1h30m long. It is a bit far to walk, so rather than using a bus or Mama-Taxi, the staff at the secular school investigated the option of the kids cycling to the sports park in groups supervised by a member of staff. The schools and the sports park are linked by a cycle paths. The journey would probably take about quarter of hour and allow a sensible period of time for sport training. In addition the children would learn about cycling in the town and recognise the use of the bicycle for short journeys. Many of the children at both schools come by bicycle, but there was a problem with children who lived far away or who came by Mama-Taxi. After making inquiries it was found that about 10 bicycles would cover any deficit amongst the children's bicycles. There then arose two problems:  where to get the bicycles and where to store them. 
  • German school budgets are under pressure as are public budgets anywhere. The staff at the school turned to Andreas Hofmann, who runs one of the local bike shops. He chatted up sponsors and manufacturers and came up with trumps with 10  simple robust bicycles for about €2000.
  • The staff at the secular school realised that their school did not have storage for all 10 bikes and enquired of the RC school who found they could store 5 bicycles. Both schools now share the use of the bicycles and storage. 

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