Bosses tell staff to get on their bikes

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

The car parks of hun­dreds of busi­nesses around the coun­try are about to be­come a whole lot emp­tier as staff are en­cour­aged to swap their cars for bi­cy­cles and vie for the ti­tle of New Zealand’s most bike-friendly work­place.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions and com­pa­nies across the coun­try have signed up to give cy­cling a go in the an­nual Bike Wise Chal­lenge – one of a se­ries of two-wheeled events tak­ing place through­out Fe­bru­ary for Bike Wise Month. There is still time for peo­ple to reg­is­ter as the chal­lenge runs through­out Fe­bru­ary.

Bike Wise Month is New Zealand’s an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of two-wheeled trans­port and is aimed at high­light­ing the ben­e­fits of cy­cling and get­ting Ki­wis of all ages on their bikes.

NZTA na­tional man­ager road user be­hav­iour Michael Cum­mins said, ‘‘The Bike Wise Chal­lenge is about get­ting the most bums on bike seats and con­vinc­ing peo­ple to give bik­ing a go. To take part, all you have to do is ride for 10 min­utes, or 2km, at any point dur­ing the month. Or­gan­i­sa­tions with the great­est par­tic­i­pa­tion will win some great prizes.’’

The chal­lenge is a great team­build­ing ex­er­cise for or­gan­i­sa­tions that get in­volved. Ex­pe­ri­enced cy­clists can help men­tor the ‘‘new­bies’’ and en­cour­age them to give it a go. Staff mem­bers who swap their car seat for a bike sad­dle of­ten en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence so much they con­tinue af­ter the com­pe­ti­tion.

As well as the health ben­e­fits of cy­cling for in­di­vid­u­als, there are also nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits for the

cy­cling wider com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly when bikes are used for com­mut­ing which eases con­ges­tion on lo­cal roads. It is also a cost­ef­fec­tive way to com­mute, with sav­ings made on petrol, park­ing fees and even gym mem­ber­ships.

Mr Cum­mins said the Bike Wise Chal­lenge was a great way to en­cour­age staff or work col­leagues to jump on their bikes and en­joy the ben­e­fits of this low­im­pact and healthy form of ex­er­cise and trans­port.

Open to any com­pany or or­gan­i­sa­tion in New Zealand, busi­nesses of a sim­i­lar size com­pete against each other in their re­gion to see who can get the high­est per­cent­age of their mem­bers or staff in the sad­dle.

Last year more than 18,000 par­tic­i­pants signed up for the Bike Wise Chal­lenge, with some or­gan­i­sa­tions prov­ing 100 per cent par­tic­i­pa­tion was achiev­able.

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