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Bikers arrive in droves for free breakfast

1 March 2006

Bikers arrive in droves for free breakfast

Great Auckland Commuter Challenge winner Jon Bridges speaks to the lycra-clad cyclist crowd.

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Crowds of cyclists from across the city flooded into Aotea Square this morning to refuel at Auckland City's Bike to Work Breakfast.

Event organisers estimate a crowd of up to 500 turned up to show their support for cycling as an easy, efficient and healthy way to get around Auckland city.

These figures reflect cycling's growing popularity. Recent research shows that between 2004 and 2005, cycling increased by about 20 per cent.

Unicyclist Tony Melton shows off his tricky manoeuvres.

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Transport and Urban Linkages Committee chairperson, Councillor Richard Simpson, believes the research is very encouraging.

"Now, with ever-rising fuel prices increasing the hole in people's wallet, cycling is becoming an appealing alternative to the car," says Mr Simpson.

"Cycling is set to play an increasingly important role in a range of travel options for getting people about Auckland.

"This council is determined to improve cycle safety across the city by developing safer and more connected networks."

Cyclists were offered free bike checks and handy cycling maps as well as bagels, breakfast cereals and fruit. They were entertained with a Latin jazz band, unicyclists showing off their tricks, and informative talks by guest speakers, who outlined Auckland City's cycling initiatives around the city.

Participants in the Great Auckland Commuter Challenge all arrived in Aotea Square from 7.25am. Ice TV's Jon Bridges was the first guest commuter to check in with a time of just 11 minutes from Mt Roskill.

Mr Bridges says he was keen to be involved to prove that cycling is a "great" way to get around the city.

"I want to show people it's not as hard as they might think. Sometimes people hit a brick wall when it comes to cycling," says Mr Bridges.

"Every time I jump in a car and it's peak hour traffic, I think never again. It's like sitting in a little prison."

Other initiatives hosted by Auckland City as part of National Bike Wise Week include the Kids Bike Ride at Western Springs tomorrow evening between 5.30pm and 7.30pm and a month-long "Cyclists - Auckland Needs You" campaign.

ENDS

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