30 Jan 2024

Marina Taylor is passionate about cycling and has been for as long as she can remember.

Being on a bike has helped her set and reach countless goals throughout her life and despite being knocked off her bike from behind in a hit and run incident almost 10 years ago, her passion for biking and encouraging people to cycle has only grown stronger.

That’s why she’s urging people to take part in this year’s Aotearoa Bike Challenge.

“I would encourage everyone to take part in the Aotearoa Bike Challenge if they can. Cycling can be really beneficial in so many ways, for health, fitness and for your mental wellbeing. It’s one way to smash through limiting beliefs,” Marina said.

“Cycling has been my favourite physical activity ever since I was a little kid and would encourage friends to join my love for cycling on frequent rides out to Sumner in High School and beyond," she said.

"I’m really looking forward to doing this year’s Challenge every day in February with an added boost as I will be raising funds to help support and represent my PACIFICA Christchurch branch at the UN Women’s 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women 2024  at the UN Headquarters in New York from 11- 22 March.

"The theme is accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective, an area I am passionate about so happy to support and be supported in the pursuit of amplifying and strengthening our Pasifika women in Aotearoa and beyond.”

The annual, free Aotearoa Bike Challenge sees workplaces, clubs and individuals compete throughout February and see who can get the most people out on their bikes and log rides for fun, fitness or transport. Every ride for 10 or more minutes counts.

Last year during the Aotearoa Bike Challenge, more than 500 Christchurch workplaces took part with 6500 participants clocking up almost 1.2 million kilometres on their bikes. This year they’re aiming for more.

Marina is determined and goal oriented, which is another reason why she loves the Challenge. For the last two years she has made sure to ride every single day throughout February.

And 2024 is no exception where she has set herself a daily goal in February of riding 7km. A total of 203km and fundraising efforts for sponsorship per km or a donation set by the kind giver will help go a long way to support Marina’s trip to the UN Women CSW68 event which is self-funded.

Aside from taking part in the Aotearoa Bike Challenge, using cycling to help reach her fitness goals and advocating for cycle infrastructure in her area, Marina also co-founded and co-operates a biking group called the Ōtautahi Peddlers – an all-inclusive social biking group which takes fortnightly rides around Christchurch with a focus on encouraging more Pasifika people to cycle.

“It’s been a journey and there were times when I’ve been challenged by life changing events and needed to do something, that’s when I’ve found cycling has been really empowering and liberating,” Marina said.

Find out more about the Aotearoa Bike Challenge and sign up to join Marina and take part here.