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Get wise to the joys of biking this year

20 February 2008

Get wise to the joys of biking this year

Dig out the bike pump, dust off the helmet and get rolling - Bike Wise Week is around the corner. From February 23 to March 2 pedal-pushers of all ages, shapes and sizes will take part in a nationwide campaign to get more Kiwis on their bikes and celebrate what is becoming a way of life for many.

The latest data from the Ministry of Transport’s Household Travel Survey shows that there are 1.3 million cyclists in New Zealand. According to figures from the Bicycle Industry Association of New Zealand and Land Transport New Zealand, bike imports outstripped first-time car registrations last year, with 246,526 bike imports compared to 197,836 car registrations.

Land Transport NZ Chief Executive Wayne Donnelly says Kiwis’ growing passion for pedal power is also reflected in Bike Wise Week participation numbers.

“Bike Wise Week is a bigger event every year, and it’s exciting to see continued growth in the number of people getting involved. Last year 100,000 people took part, up from 94,000 in 2006, and we’re expecting this year to top those figures again.”

But while many New Zealanders are giving cycling a go, only a small proportion use a bike regularly for transport, with just two percent of journeys to work by cycle.

The draft update of the New Zealand Transport Strategy has proposed 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.

Transport Minister Annette King said Bike Wise Week was part of an ongoing effort to make progress towards that target and increase the use of active, healthy transport modes.
“Cycling is great exercise, it costs significantly less than motorised travel, and it’s good for the environment.”

Mr Donnelly said Land Transport NZ and the Ministry of Health are supporting Bike Wise Week to boost the profile of cycling as a fun and healthy activity, and to encourage people who don’t usually cycle to give it a go.

“There are all sorts of good reasons to make biking part of the way you get from A to B. Most car trips are less than six kilometres long, a distance that can easily be cycled, and biking often takes no longer than driving. It’s healthy, parking isn’t an issue, and there are no fuel costs or emissions.”

Dozens of local and national cycling events and activities are taking place during Bike Wise Week.

The Bike Wise Battle, where businesses and groups ‘bike it out’ runs from Monday 18 February to Sunday 2 March - this year over 470 organisations across the country have signed on for the battle.

Between 16 February and 2 March, more than 39 mayors are leading their cities’ cyclists in the Mayoral Challenge competition. The one with the most people ‘riding behind the mayor’ will win the coveted title of New Zealand’s Cycle Mad City 2008.

On Go By Bike Day, Wednesday 27 February, thousands of New Zealanders will cycle to work, meetings, universities, schools or the shops, stopping at designated centres along the way to enjoy a free breakfast and live entertainment.

If you’d like to rekindle your relationship with your bicycle, or you’re keen to find a practical way to become more active, go to and see what’s taking place in your region.


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