This year’s Aotearoa Bike Challenge kicks into gear on Thursday 1 February with The Lightfoot Initiative’s calendar of new events and incentives for the Queenstown Lakes community to get cycling – to help cut congestion, reduce emissions, and increase their wellbeing.
For the first time there’s something for just about everyone; from free barista coffee and kai stations for biking commuters; to bike confidence sessions for pre-schoolers; mountain bike downhill lessons for seniors; free onsite bike mechanics and e-Bike ‘tasters’ for workplaces.
Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) General Manager Property & Infrastructure, Tony Avery says Council is providing additional support for the challenge to help change people’s mindsets when they travel around the district this February.
“It’s a great initiative to encourage people to get on their bikes and out on the growing network of wonderful trails around the Queenstown Lakes. It’s also the perfect opportunity to try commuting to work by bike, and to challenge others around you to a bit of friendly competition too,” says Mr Avery.
Run locally by The Lightfoot Initiative, the challenge runs throughout February and is open to everyone; from experienced cyclists to people who haven’t been on a bike in years. Last year, the Aotearoa Bike Challenge statistics show 64 Queenstown Lakes District locals, who were new or non-riders, were introduced to biking through the challenge. And overall, almost 500 riders took part in 2023, making over 5,500 trips in the district.
Over 50 local workplaces competed last year, and with the growing emphasis on business sustainability goals and the health and wellbeing of their teams, it’s expected more workplaces will sign up for this year’s challenge. Points are not only given for biking, but also for encouraging others to bike, and leaderboards are split by organisation size and industry so even the smallest workplaces can still aim for the top spot.
The Lightfoot Initiative Co-Founder, Amanda Robinson says this year’s challenge provides more help for workplaces to get their teams involved, and is bigger and better than ever before.
“We’ve tried to eliminate any possible reason not to give biking a go this February. We have safety experts to help show you how; mechanics to help fix your bikes; and even a free coffee and kai on your mid-week bike into work. Oh, and if you don’t have a bike, we can probably help with that too, through our OneBike initiative. The Aotearoa Bike Challenge is about getting more people riding bikes and making the choice to switch cars for handlebars more often. Just biking even one day a week makes a huge difference for the planet and your people,” says Robinson.
Every ride counts for the challenge – whether it’s to work, school or even downhill for fun. Workplaces and individuals can track their distances (and carbon emissions saved), and then battle it out for the top spot and amazing prizes.
Registration is quick and easy, simply register to ride now on the Aotearoa Bike Challenge site or app, (it can connect with Strava too) or any time in February.