Aotearoa Bike Challenge: as easy as ABC - WDHB


29 January 2019

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Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) is encouraging people across the Whanganui rohe (region) to embrace next month’s Aotearoa Bike Challenge as a fun way to give cycling a go.

The Aotearoa Bike Challenge coincides with Bike Wise month and is a joint initiative between the NZ Transport Agency and Love to Ride, as well as local partners.

The Challenge sees workplaces across New Zealand encouraging their staff to join the free team competition and get more people riding bikes.

That’s something WDHB health promotion officers Kylee Osborne and Pania Millar are getting behind, with the hope that the involvement of WDHB staff members like themselves will encourage the public to do the same.

“As the largest employer in Whanganui, we feel it’s important to encourage staff to be physically active - and the Aotearoa Bike Challenge is a perfect way to do that,” Mrs Osborne says. “We hope that through leading by example, not only can our staff enjoy the obvious health benefits of biking, but they’ll also inspire others to do the same.”

At Whanganui Hospital, two spin cycles will be set up for Whanganui DHB staff who can’t easily bike to work, so they can book a time to use a cycle and participate in the Challenge as well.

Mrs Osborne says the overall goal of the Challenge is to get more people to experience first-hand how enjoyable riding a bike can be, and to ultimately get more people cycling more often - whether that’s for fun, exercise or to get to work.

Meanwhile, Ms Millar says the Whanganui region is an ideal place to give cycling a go.

“Around Whanganui city there’s a great network of cycle paths along the awa (river). Marked cycle lanes also connect a lot of suburbs, making it easy to cycle safely from home to school or work,” Ms Millar says.

“Another local attraction is the Mountain to Sea Cycle Trail, Ngā Ara Tūhono, which begins in the Ruapehu District and is part of The New Zealand Cycle Trail, Ngā Haerenga. The Rangitikei region also has some spectacular cycle trails.”

As part of the Aotearoa Bike Challenge, people can cycle anywhere they like, anytime they like during the Challenge period. They only need to ride for 10 minutes for it to count, which organisers say is just enough time to bring a big smile to their face after rediscovering how fun riding a bike can be.

This year marks the Challenge’s third year, with WDHB staff having taken part in the event in previous years.

Last February, 1,648 companies and 14,326 people across the country took part in the Challenge, including 2,883 ‘new riders’. There will be live leaderboards on the Challenge website during the month, showing which organisations are currently on top. Individuals earn points for riding and encouraging others to ride.

Registrations are open and it’s free to participate. For more information, visit: