Spring is here, summer is coming and so is the biking season. Now’s the time to dust off the old pushbike, get outdoors, improve your health and beat your car-driving colleagues to work. Or get yourself back into the swing of things by heading out for a fun ride at the weekend with friends and family.
This month the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is encouraging people to get ready to ride and offering some tips, tricks and events to help smooth the transition from couch potato to pedalling powerhouse.
“One of the great things about cycling to work is that the benefits are twofold - your daily commute becomes your daily dose of exercise. A third of vehicle trips in New Zealand are over distances of less than five kilometres – a distance almost anyone can manage easily on their bike,” says Michael Cummins, NZTA’s National Manager Road User Behaviour.
A recent Australian study of cyclists in urban centres found the average speed of a cyclist was close to that of those commuting by car and in many cases faster. With the added benefit of being able to park for free right outside your destination, you can see a significant reduction in your daily commute – not to mention the environmental benefits of leaving the car home.
On the health front, the advantages of biking are obvious. Riding 15 minutes each way to work would cover the average adult’s recommended minimum of 30 minutes moderate intensity exercise each day and has a positive impact on your health and wellbeing.
New Zealand has the third highest obesity rate in the OECD with over 1,000 people dying of obesity-related illnesses every year. Physical inactivity is major health risk – rated up there with smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol.
With the NZTA’s Bike Wise Month scheduled for February and a raft of fun cycling events on over the summer period there’s no better time to get ready to cycle.
For biking tips, resources to promote cycling at your work, school or community, and to find out how to register for upcoming Bike Wise events, head to www.bikewise.co.nz. The new Bike Wise website is a one-stop shop for all your cycling needs.