This year’s Aotearoa Bike Challenge has encouraged thousands more New Zealanders to cycle, with more than 22,000 people from over 1,900 organisations taking part, including over 4,700 new riders.
Workplaces across the country were encouraged to sign up for the challenge and to motivate staff to take part.
NZ Transport Agency acting senior manager system design, Kevin Reid says it was great to see so many New Zealanders committed to getting on their bikes in February.
“This year we’ve seen a 54 percent increase in the number of people taking part which is fantastic. The challenge gives people an incentive to incorporate cycling into everyday life and see and feel the benefits.”
Over 1,900 organisations participated in the challenge this year, an 18 percent increase from 2018.
Many of them took part for similar reasons – to increase staff wellbeing and to work towards their organisational goals around sustainability.
Throughout the month of February, participants made more than 289,000 trips by bike, cycling an impressive 3.7 million kilometres in total.
All of the Beca offices across New Zealand got involved with the challenge.
“Beca is working to become a more sustainable organisation. With travel and transport being our greatest source of impact, the Aotearoa Bike Challenge helps to create new habits of reaching for a helmet before reaching for your car keys,” says Beca Auckland Challenge Champion Leon Keefer.
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. We all also want to save money and not have to find or pay for parking in the CBD.”
Trustpower had 63 of their employees taking part.
“We like to encourage anything that maximizes our staff’s well-being and cycling has major health benefits – both physically and mentally,” says Trustpower Challenge Champion David Maris.
“In 2018 we got behind Mental Health Week and have been promoting the five ways to well-being ever since. One of those is ‘Be Active’ or ‘Me Kori Tonu’, so getting behind this challenge fitted in really well with the messaging we started at the end of last year.”
The Aotearoa Bike Challenge is a partnership between the NZ Transport Agency, local councils and the global organisation Love to Ride. To give riders an extra incentive, there were great prizes up for grabs including an e-bike donated by Mercury, a Mountain Bike Tour and lots of cycling gear.