The Aotearoa Bike Challenge is underway this month, and for the third year running the Challenge has encouraged thousands of New Zealanders to get on their bikes.
More people have participated in the first two weeks of this year’s Challenge, than in the whole of last year’s Challenge.
Over 17,000 people across the country have logged a ride, over 2 million kilometres have already been cycled, and there’s still two weeks left to go.
“We’re excited with the number of New Zealanders that are getting on their bikes for the Challenge this year,” says Kevin Reid, Acting Senior Manager System Design, NZ Transport Agency. “It’s great to see that organisations throughout New Zealand have embraced not only the Challenge but cycling in general.”
More than 150,000 trips by bike have been made as part of the Challenge so far this year. “The next step for cyclists is to turn their efforts in the Challenge into lasting habits,” says Mr Reid.
Not only is the challenge beating its records from last year but Love to Ride founder, Thomas Stokell says it stacks up well against other challenges held globally in terms of participation.
“The Aotearoa Bike Challenge is now one of the most successful bike challenge programmes of its kind in the world. By comparison, per capita, it is performing 24 times better than the USA’s ‘National Bike Challenge’, and 10 times better than the UK’s ‘Cycle September’.”
Beca – Auckland, Tonkin + Taylor, Beca - Christchurch, Evo Cycles, PDP – Christchurch, Fastlane Fitness, and Brook Serene are currently at the top of the leader board in their organisation size categories.
Canterbury DHB Challenge participant, Meg Christie, says their organisation gets behind the Challenge because they are aware of the many benefits of riding a bike.
“As a public health unit, we really understand the multiple benefits of cycling to create a healthier and more engaged workforce, as well as climate change mitigation through cycling (albeit in a tiny way). are also healthy side effects of cycling. We all also want to save money and not have to find or pay for parking in the CBD.”
Beca Auckland Challenge Champion, Leon Keefer, says the Aotearoa Bike Challenge is a great opportunity for their staff to give cycling a go, and work towards their organisation’s journey of becoming more sustainable.
“Many of us are already passionate about cycling, and the Challenge provides a great opportunity to encourage new and less regular riders to get on a bike. It also demonstrates to a wider audience that cycling is not only possible, but it’s much safer and much more achievable than perceived” says Mr Keefer.
“Beca is also working to become a more sustainable organisation. With travel and transport being our greatest source of impact, Aotearoa Bike Challenge helps to create new habits of reaching for a helmet before reaching for your car keys.”
All of the Beca offices across New Zealand are taking part in the Challenge. Carey Lintott from their Christchurch office says many of their staff are already keen cyclists, and the Aotearoa Bike Challenge is a great way to encourage even more employees to choose environmentally friendly and healthier transport options.
“In our Christchurch office, a huge number of people already choose to cycle to and from work. Most days you’ll find on average 100 bikes locked-up in our custom facilities. Not a bad effort for over 300 people. The Aotearoa Bike Challenge provides a great platform for us to promote our organisation’s values of care, enjoyment, partnership and tenacity – and our purpose to make every day better.”
The Aotearoa Bike Challenge is a partnership between the NZ Transport Agency and global organisation Love to Ride. The challenge encourages New Zealanders to make everyday trips by bike, with one ten-minute ride enough to give them the chance to win some great prizes while feeling the benefits of cycling.
Points can be won by kilometres ridden, number of days ridden, and number of people encouraged to participate.
There are some great prizes up for grabs, valued at over $11,000, and you can still sign up to take part at: www.lovetoride.net/nz(external link)
The Challenge ends on 28 February.