Christchurch sign language interpreter and mother-of-two Amy Hewgill loves taking her kids places by bike.
“I find it far more relaxing than going by car and the kids really enjoy the ride. We chat about the things we see along the way and it is lots of fun,’’ says Amy, who has signed up to be part of February’s Aotearoa Bike Challenge.
Organised by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Love to Ride and Christchurch City Council, the Aotearoa Bike Challenge is a fun, free competition that encourage people to experience first-hand the joys and benefits of riding a bike.
Workplaces, clubs and groups can take part in the challenge, earning points for every person they sign-up and for every kilometre, and every day, that participants ride. People can also sign up for the challenge as individuals.
Amy has taken part in the challenge for the past couple of years and is keen to clock-up more consecutive days on her bike this time around.
She took up biking about four years ago after the birth of her second child because she wanted to get fit. Now she’s hooked, using her bike regularly to take her kids to school and preschool before journeying onto work.
“My eldest daughter is old enough now to have her own bike and we like to go for rides as a family. The cycleways have made it far safer for us to do that,’’ Amy says.
Last year, Christchurch companies dominated the Aotearoa Bike Challenge workplace competition, scoring more points than other workplaces of comparable size in nearly all seven categories.
Christchurch City Council won the category nationally for workplaces that employ 2000 or more staff. In that same category the Canterbury District Health Board came in third, while the University of Canterbury finished fifth nationwide.
Overall, more than 6000 people across greater Christchurch took part in the 2020 Aotearoa Bike Challenge, clocking up over 725,000 kilometres on their bikes over the course of the month-long challenge.
Almost 1000 of those who took part were new to cycling.
“The Aotearoa Bike Challenge is a fun way to encourage people to get on a bike and give cycling a go,’’ says Christchurch City Council Head of Transport Richard Osborne.
“Biking is good for the wallet, good for the body, and good for the environment so if you have toyed with the idea of getting on a bike, why not sign up for the Aotearoa Bike Challenge?
“You don’t have to commit to anything more than one 10-minute bike ride, but you might find that you really enjoy the exercise and the fresh air and it may become something that you do regularly,’’ Mr Osborne says.
“You can sign up to the challenge as an individual or as part of a workplace, or social, sport, or community club or group.’’