Aotearoa Bike Challenge comes as more people use bikes in Auckland

The Aotearoa Bike Challenge returns on Monday 1 February 2021 and Auckland is expected to continue seeing more people using bikes after the competition is finished.

Running throughout February, the national challenge is free to enter and easy to join as either an individual or an organisation with prizes to be won. Entrants just need to ride for at least 10 minutes during the month to qualify to win rewards.

Auckland Transport is working again with Waka Kotahi to present the Auckland region of 2021's Aotearoa Bike Challenge.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff encourages people to get involved.

"Whether you're a keen cyclist or it has been a while since your last ride, the Aotearoa Bike Challenge is a good opportunity to get on your bike and enjoy the benefits of cycling with the bonus that you could win a prize," he says.

"As well as being fun and good for your health and fitness, cycling is a way to get around the city without creating carbon emissions. That's good for Auckland and for the planet"

Since the Auckland region first started its bike challenge in 2016, a total of 1,407 organisations and 20,501 people have hopped on a bike to join the effort. More than 18.7 million kilometres and 969,942 rides have been completed, which has saved 918,214 kg worth of CO2 emissions.

Research from 2020's Aotearoa Bike Challenge in the Auckland region shows that 26% of registrants had either not biked at all or only a few times in the year before the challenge, while another 26% had only biked a few times a month or once a week before.

"It's always great to see more Aucklanders hop on their bike each year and take part of the Aotearoa Bike Challenge every February, but what's even more exciting is the passion and fun they bring and that people continue to ride well after the challenge is done because they find it's a great way to get around the city," says Zane Bray, Auckland Transport's Sustainable Mobility Team Leader.

"We've also seen an increase in people using bikes in Auckland following last year's COVID-19 lockdowns. People originally used cycling as a way to get active while staying at home but have continued to see the benefits in their daily lives. We've seen people embracing the liberation and freedom that bikes bring and the sense of community that comes with it. These new returning riders are really living the bike life."

Research from last year's challenge showed that 55% of new and 46% of occasional riders intended to ride more than they did before taking part in the challenge. 58% of those classified as new riders and 35% of those classified as occasional riders reported biking more regularly seven months after the challenge.

Other key statistics gathered from last year's challenge include:

  • 58% of new riders are riding more regularly seven months after the challenge.
  • 75% of individuals who had not ridden at all in the 12 months before the challenge had ridden at least once seven months post-challenge.
  • 29% of all riders reported riding more regularly seven months after the challenge.
  • 13% of those who had not replaced any car trip with biking three weeks after the challenge, had replaced at least one car trip with a bike ride seven months after the challenge.
  • 34% of riders who were riding to work less than one day a week before the Challenge are now riding to work more often.
  • 35% of all riders increased how often they cycled to work.
  • 59% of those who did not do any physical activity at baseline, had done at least 30 minutes of physical activity on three or more days a week seven months after the challenge.
  • 38% of all respondents increased the number of days on which they did physical activity.

AT's latest active modes quarterly snapshot is available here, which provides an overview of what AT is doing to make it easier and safer for people to walk, ride a bike, or make use of micro-mobility (e.g. e-scooters) options in Auckland.

Find out more information about the Aotearoa Bike Challenge and register for free as an individual or organisation.