Staff from Nayland College ahead of the Aotearoa Bike Challenge this February. Photo: Andrew Board.

Nelsonians ride into bike challenge

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Plenty of Nelsonians will be swapping their cars for bikes in February, with the first Aotearoa Bike Challenge kicking off across the country tomorrow.
The challenge has been launched by the New Zealand Transport Agency and is based on the global ‘Love to Ride’ programme, supporting kiwis to get on their bikes.
One 10-minute journey by bike is all it takes to participate, it is free to register and there are some great prizes to be won.
So far, more than 920 organisations and 9102 New Zealanders have signed up for the month-long challenge and registrations will remain open until 28 February.
As well as encouraging individuals to cycle, the challenge is suited to workplaces that can enter as a team.
The number of rides clocked up by a team contributes towards the efforts of the organisation as a whole, and those who sign up will compete against each other to see who can get the most staff to ride a bike during the challenge.
And it’s not about who can ride the most kilometres, but who can encourage the most people to give cycling a try.
One of the Nelson teams participating is a keen group of teachers and support staff from Nayland Primary School.
Teacher Ben Ward says that so far there are about 25 people involved – and that number looks to keep growing. Ben says he usually aims to ride to and from school three plus days a week, with a longer ride in the weekend.
“We’re doing [the challenge] to encourage other teachers, students and families to make the most of Nelson’s amazing outdoors and get on their bikes,” he says.
“Nelson is an amazing place to ride. We have so many cycle ways and shared paths that you can get to most places that you might want to go. We are so lucky to have such easy access to the outdoors – we need to make the most of it.”
NZ Transport Agency National Cycling manager, Dougal List, says the challenge is a great time for anyone to give cycling a go.
“Whether you have some experience in the saddle or are completely new to cycling, the challenge provides riders with support and motivation and the knowledge that thousands will be doing it with them.”
To find out more, visit www.lovetoride.net/nz