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Aotearoa Bike Challenge gets workers pedalling

Wednesday, January 23, 2019   Posted in: Resources and Information By: Administrator With tags: cycling, transport, workplace

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 23rd February 2019

Meridian Energy's Christchurch team is aiming for the top spot in next month’s Aotearoa Bike Challenge after coming third last year.

The nationwide month-long competition is organised by the New Zealand Transport Agency and Love to Ride and aims to get more people riding their bikes.

219 Christchurch companies and 3155 local people took part in the 2018 Aotearoa Bike Challenge last February.

This year more than 200 local organisations have already signed up to join the event, which is supported by Christchurch City Council and starts on Friday 1st February 2019.

Renewable energy company Meridian Energy is among those gearing up to take part. Team Co-ordinator Tui Wagstaff is hoping more than 100 people working in Meridian’s Christchurch office will sign up for the challenge.

“Last year we were third overall in New Zealand and we had 30 per cent of our staff members taking part, so our goal is to do even better this time."

Ms Wagstaff already bikes to work each day but she hopes the competition will help get more of her colleagues to give it a go. “Hopefully it will motivate loads more people in the office to get involved. Biking to work is a good way to save on parking costs and get some exercise and the prizes are a really good incentive. This year teams get massive bonus points when staff who are new to biking get involved so we'll be focusing on encouraging newbie riders too.

“The Aotearoa Bike Challenge really helps boost our team atmosphere, it fits with our sustainability focus, and it helps our employees stay fitter and healthier so we think it’s a winner. It also fits with who we are as a company and our commitment to a healthier world.”

Riders who join the challenge clock up points each time they get on their bike for at least 10 minutes or encourage others to do the same. They also go in the draw for some impressive prizes including a seven-day mountain bike tour on the Old Ghost Road and Heaphy Track with Haka Tours worth $3899, an e-bike conversion kit worth $1400 and bike gear such as helmets and clothing.

Their points contribute to their workplace’s total which are tracked through a live leaderboard on the Challenge website showing which organisations are on top.

The teams with the highest number of points win the challenge in their size category. The seven categories range from 2000-plus staff down to three to six staff members.

Council Transport Operations Manager Steffan Thomas says the Aotearoa Bike Challenge is a great way to change people’s habits in a positive way and promote an active lifestyle.

“Sometimes all we need is a nudge in the right direction. A bit of competition or the promise of an amazing prize can be enough to get people biking more often or start a new riding to work routine.”

Registrations in the 2019 Aotearoa Bike Challenge are open and it's free to take part.

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch