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Mayors take the lead in cycle-mad city contest

Media Statement

Date 14 February 2008
Mayors take the lead in cycle-mad city contest

Mayors throughout New Zealand will soon be calling on local celebrities and cyclists to join them in the quest for the title of New Zealand’s most cycle mad city or town.

The Bike Wise Mayoral Challenge is a highlight of Bike Wise Week, a nationwide campaign aimed at getting more Kiwis on their bikes.

The latest data from the Ministry of Transport’s Household Travel Survey shows that while there are 1.3 million cyclists in New Zealand, only a small proportion use a bike for transport, with just two percent of journeys to work by cycle.

The National Transport Strategy has set a target of 30 percent of all urban trips to be by bike or on foot by 2040 - almost double the current figure of 17 percent.

Land Transport NZ Acting Chief Executive Noel Lee said Bike Wise Week and the Mayoral Challenge were part of a concerted effort to make progress towards that target and increase the use of active, healthy transport modes like cycling.

Mr Lee says interest in the Mayoral Challenge is growing, with more mayors and locals getting involved each year.

“The challenge is a fantastic way for people to get out and do something active and fun while showing they’re proud of their city or town. There’s no better time to rescue your bike from the back of the garage or garden shed and have some fun.”

With 39 cities and districts set to take part, the challenge promises to be a popular and hotly-contested event for the third year running.

Last year 10,500 cyclists from 26 regions participated. The Cycle Mad City title was won by Wellington, with Mayor Kerry Prendergast leading nearly 1,800 cyclists in a ride around the bays. The Cycle Mad town award went to Selwyn District, where 678 riders took part.

Mayoral Challenge events are organised by local councils and cycling advocates, and include spot prizes and free giveaways making them ideal opportunities for parents and their children to participate together. The rides are kept fairly short, and the routes chosen aren’t demanding, so anybody can take part.

Each locality earns one point for every rider who bikes along behind their mayor, who usually dons a yellow jersey. Extra points are allocated for high-profile entrants including celebrities, councillors, business leaders and journalists.

This year cities and districts are holding their challenges on Saturdays and Sundays between 16 February and 2 March. For details on your area’s Mayoral Challenge visit www.bikewise.co.nz or contact your local council.

Participating cities and districts taking part this year include:

Hibiscus Coast, Pukekohe, Papakura, Hamilton, Te Awamutu, Te Kuiti, Otorohanga, Kawerau, Opotiki, Whakatane, Taupo, Rotorua, Waipukurau, Hastings, Wairoa, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Hawera, Stratford, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Feilding, Wellington, Lower Hutt, Porirua, Kapiti, Marlborough, Nelson, Motueka, Takaka, , Omaru, Hokitika, Lincoln, Ashburton, Waimate, Timaru, Alexandra, Dunedin and Balclutha.

Visit www.bikewise.co.nz for further information.


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