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Search underway for New Zealand's most bike-friendly
organisation

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Hundreds of employers all around the country are encouraging their staff to swap their cars for bicycles as they get ready to vie for the title of New Zealand's most bike-friendly workplace.

Hundreds of employers all around the country are encouraging their staff to swap their cars for bicycles as they get ready to vie for the title of New Zealand’s most bike-friendly workplace.

Many organisations have signed up to give cycling a go in the annual Bike Wise Challenge - one of a series of two wheeled events taking place throughout February for Bike Wise Month.

Bike Wise Month is New Zealand’s annual celebration of two-wheeled transport, with Kiwis of all ages encouraged to give cycling a go at one of hundreds of events taking place across the country throughout February.

NZTA National Manager Road User Behaviour Michael Cummins says Bike Wise Month is aimed at highlighting the benefits of cycling and getting as many New Zealanders as possible onto their bikes.

The Bike Wise Challenge is a fun, free, online competition which encourages organisations to get their staff on bikes from throughout the month. 

“It’s all about participation and encouraging people to give cycling a go. Participants can ride whenever and wherever they feel comfortable for just 10 minutes or 2 km, and there are prizes for the organisations who get the highest percentage of staff participating,” Mr Cummins said.

The Challenge is a great team-building exercise for organisations that get involved. Experienced cyclists can help mentor the ‘newbies’ and encourage them to give it a go.  Staff members who swap their car seat for a bike saddle often enjoy the experience so much they continue cycling after the competition.

As well as the health benefits of cycling for individuals, there are also numerous benefits for the wider community, particularly when bikes are used for commuting which eases congestion on local roads.  It's also a cost-effective way to commute, with savings made on petrol, parking fees, and even gym memberships.

Mr  Cummins says the Bike Wise Challenge is a great way to encourage your staff or work colleagues to jump on their bikes and enjoy the benefits of this low-impact and healthy form of exercise and transport.
 
“Cycling is also a great way to boost workplace morale– it gives teams that wouldn’t normally communicate a chance to interact, and encourages a bit of healthy and fun competition at work.”

Open to any company or organisation in New Zealand, businesses of a similar size compete against each other in their region to see who can get the highest percentage of their members or staff in the saddle.

Last year more than 14,000 participants signed up for the Bike Wise Challenge, with more than 13,000 of those logging at least one ride during the month. 

For more information on how your organisation can take the Bike Wise Challenge see www.bikewisechallenge.co.nz(external link).

Other Bike Wise Month 2010 Activities

  • Go By Bike Day: On Wednesday 17 February New Zealanders are being encouraged to bike to work or school instead of going by car.  Breakfast events, including free food and entertainment, are being held in more than 50 locations.  See www.bikewise.co.nz/regions.html(external link) for your nearest Go By Bike Day.
  • Mayoral Challenge: Held on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month: New Zealand towns and cities will compete for the honour of the most ‘Cycle Mad City’ by getting as many people as possible to follow their Mayor on a gentle bike ride.  The title of Cycle Mad City will go to the town or city with the highest percentage of their population joining in on their Mayoral Challenge.  In 2009 Mayoral Challenges were held in 48 centres involving about 14,060 participants.

For more information on Bike Wise Month visit www.bikewise.co.nz(external link)

For more information please contact:

Andy Knackstedt    
Media Manager     
New Zealand Transport Agency   
T. 04 894 6285    
M. 021 276 3222  
E. andrew.knackstedt@nzta.govt.nz

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