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Get on your bike, says Trevor Mallard

2 November 2004

Get on your bike, says Trevor Mallard

"Get on your bike" was the message today from Sport and Recreation Minister Trevor Mallard who launched New Zealand's first comprehensive and colourful history of cycling in New Zealand.

""Ride - the story of cycling in New Zealand', published by the Kennett Brothers, is a fascinating read. The beauty of this book is that, in chronicling the evolution of cycling as a pastime and sport in New Zealand, it chronicles the evolution of the country itself," Trevor Mallard said.

"At various times, cycling has been a main mode of transport, a political statement, an arena for experimentation and advancement.

""Ride" contains some great stories. Did you know that furious public debate occurred over the appropriateness of women riding bikes? Or that the Penny Farthing was invented here while Europe rode the velocipede? Or that, between 1900 and 1950, New Zealand imported nearly 800,000 bicycles and manufactured thousands more?

"By the late 1930s, an estimated quarter of a million bicycles were being ridden in New Zealand – one for every six people. As the Kennett brothers attest, learning to ride a bike became, like learning to swim, one of the initiation rites of Kiwi childhood.

"I’m especially pleased to launch this book in the lead-up to Push Play day on Friday November 5 which is focussed on getting people active. These days, rather than ride bikes and play outside, today’s young Kiwis are becoming sedentary and overweight.

"So much so that SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) use what they call the “bike shed barometer” as a measure of the decline in activity in kids. The bike shed barometer is a comparison between the bike sheds of 10, 20, even 50 years ago, and those of today. You can imagine that the bikesheds of today are pretty empty.

"I'd love to see this trend reversed. My message is pretty simple: "Get on your bike". There are thousands out there who could benefit hugely from rediscovering the joy and excitement of cycling. And this book should be a fantastic source of inspiration," Trevor Mallard said.


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