Almost 25,000 New Zealanders riding!

In 2019, we were blown away with the record breaking results we achieved in New Zealand with our Aotearoa Bike Challenge, it was our most successful program ever with 22,000 people taking part! 

In 2020, the Challenge got even bigger, making it again, our most successful challenge.

With almost 25,000 participants competing from over 2,400 businesses across New Zealand, our clients were very happy with these numbers.  

In Christchurch they had 6,126 participants which equates to 3% of the working age population taking part in the program!


The challenge is now in its 4th consecutive year and we’ve been seeing outstanding year on year growth since its commencement.  This kind of repeat activity has returned real benefits, as it’s meant we can continue to build awareness and engagement in the community.  The event is now a keenly anticipated on the calendar each year.

With a 26% increase in organisation numbers from last year, the challenge attracted 507 new businesses to join in.  Whilst the growth in participants numbers illustrates new audiences are joining the challenge, we are also deepening our reach within organisations and people who participated previously, with more staff members joining their teammates each year!


Enabling regular riders to recruit their friends and colleagues to go for a ride is at the core of the work we do at Love to Ride.  This year’s New Zealand challenge included a heavier focus on the ‘encourager’ message with its own dedicated prize pool and leader board.  The result? During February, there were 10,870 acts of encouragement, proving that when we provide regular riders the tools to make it fun and easy to encourage others to ride, they will!

“I took my spare bike to work and left it there so I could accompany new riders riding at lunchtime down the cul-de-sac. New people are genuinely fearful of riding close to the road. Many I encouraged had not ridden for many years and for some 4 decades…

For Neville Rogers, I repaired his exercycle in January so he could train up to ride up Takaka Hill to celebrate his 67th birthday on a tandem. Neville is blind”

Bryn Jones – #2 Encourager nationally


The Aotearoa Bike Challenge operates at a national level, and we also work with regions within New Zealand who have chosen to deliver a localized version of the Love to Ride site in their area.  This provides more ownership to our partners by enabling them to communicate their own local content to people in their community, like bike routes, community events and prizes to drive participation for the challenge.  This also gives our partners access to anonymized data, crucial to the continued development of active travel planning.

Regions with a local site (see the bars coloured yellow), had the greatest levels of participation:


Overall there is a fairly even gender split, which is a sign that the Challenge is generally appealing to everyone. 

It’s interesting to see in the major cities (Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington) that there is a higher number of male riders participating, possibly due to the current perception of how bike-friendly the city environment is among female riders compared to riding in smaller towns and rural areas.

The recent Aotearoa Bike Challenge was our most successful yet with a 26% increase in the number of organisations taking part and a 13% increase in individuals riding. Love to Ride has been solutions-focused and really easy to work with. They helped us to deliver on our objective of increasing the number of people cycling.’

Jamie Sitzia, Principal Advisor, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

It’s clear from this case-study that the Workplace Bike Challenge program has again been very successful. 

Interested in getting a successful biking encouragement program running in your area? Get in touch and we’ll send you some more information and examples:

Let’s Ride – Biking makes good sense in the Coronavirus Era

In the short, medium, and long term, it makes good sense to support and encourage more people to ride bikes.

In the short and medium-term, while social distancing is being recommended to help contain the spread of Covid-19, biking makes a lot of sense.

  • Biking is the original SDV (Social Distancing Vehicle) – biking is an ideal way of getting around while maintaining social distancing. 
  • People are avoiding taking public transport – being in a confined space with other people is not recommended at this time. People who use public transport might not own a car and yet they still need to travel safely from A to B. Biking there can make sense for some of these people. Our data also shows that people who use public transport to get to work are the most likely to switch modes and start riding for transportation.
  • You can get to a lot of places you might need to go by bike (the store, pharmacy, to visit or care for others). For many people who are traveling short distances, riding a bike is a great option.
  • Improve mental health + combat loneliness, isolation, and cabin fever – We all know how it feels to be stuck inside the house all day and then when you finally get to go outside it’s a breath of fresh air on so many levels: physically, mentally, and emotionally. With people being recommended to self-isolate and to work from home, loneliness and disconnection from your community are real problems. Riding a bike is an ideal way to get outside, get some exercise and fresh air, go places, and reconnect to the big wide world around you.
  • Exercise strengthens your immune system – 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise per day (like riding a bike) helps to boost and strengthen your immune system. Exercise also helps reduce stress levels and stress hormones (cortisol) which in turn also helps to strengthen your immune system. People are already taking steps to help improve their immune system, supporting them to start riding or to get out and ride more often is another way that we can combat Covid-19.

And of course in the long-term, all the benefits that people, cities, businesses and our planet gain as a result of more people riding bikes all still stand. Biking helps people to be healthier and happier. Biking helps make our communities more liveable and it brings a host of benefits to businesses – from healthier staff, fewer sick days, and increased productivity.

There are going to be people in your community who will want to start riding a bike again or start riding for transportation but don’t have the knowledge, confidence or ability to ride yet. Love to Ride can provide support and encouragement to get more people in your community to ride.
Love to Ride is already supporting cities, businesses and people around the world to realize the benefits of riding – in the short, medium and long-term. Please do get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how we can support more people to ride in your area –

To register on Love to Ride it’s

Inspiration, advice and support for girls and women who want to cycle

Cathy Tester from Breeze Derby tells us all about a great event ahead of International Women’s Day.

Over 40 women and girls attended a free, female only event at The University of Derby Enterprise Centre on the evening of Wednesday 26th February. The event was organised by Love to Ride, Derby Cycling Group and Sustrans, and formed part of a wider campaign to encourage more women to cycle in Derby.

The evening began with talks from four inspirational speakers. First up was Kate Ball on the topic of cycling with children. As a mother of four, a childminder and an everyday cyclist, she was well placed to share a wealth of knowledge, information and advice. Kate explained the different options available when transporting young children by bike, and how to then encourage them to become independent cyclists.

Next to speak was Cath Rodkoff who began cycling in her forties, improving both her physical and mental health as a result. She now supports and motivates other women through her roles as a breeze champion (women only led rides) and as the founder of Nottingham girls cycle group. Cath’s presentation ended with a short film entitled ‘one in a million’, which was put together by British Cycling and is available to view on their website. 

Our third speaker was Tracey Fletcher who inspired the audience with her personal ‘cycling journey’ and how she pushed her physical and mental capabilities to compete in, and win, races. Tracey then explained how she went on to use her knowledge and skills, and give something back, through her role as a cycle trainer. 

Finally, Joss Winter, a Sustrans employee and cycle commuter, gave a presentation on route planning and cycling to work.  She gave practical tips and information to encourage and inspire women to find their way by bike and to begin riding rather than driving to work.

After a quick refreshment break the attendees split into four discussion groups: ‘cycling with children’, ‘confidence’, ‘practical tips’ and ‘route planning’. Questions were asked, information and knowledge were shared, and the feeling around the room was one of positivity and support. The topics discussed and fed back to the rest of the group covered: teaching your children to ride, finding the right saddle, accessing led rides, where to position your bike when riding on the road, what to wear on a cycle commute, and so much more.

Everyone left the event feeling inspired, informed and supported, and the feedback that we have received so far has been extremely positive.

From Foodhall to Bikehall

Bikehall founder-member Henry Roe gives us the story of Sheffield’s newest community bike kitchen

Foodhall Project is Sheffield’s multi-award winning public dining room and community kitchen. Its heart-of-the-city eating and event space has been open since 2015 and is dedicated to building community and food security while tackling social isolation, inequality, and food waste.

But what’s that got to do with bikes and cycling?

Foodhall’s open organisational structure means that members of the community are welcome to contribute to the project in many different ways. If you’re into pottery, you can start up pottery workshops. If you’re passionate about film, you can start up a cinema night. And if you’re into riding (and fixing) bicycles and want to share that with others, well, you can do that too.

That’s how Bikehall started in 2018. The plan was to share our (sometimes rusty) bike maintenance knowledge with other people in the Foodhall community who wanted to learn or whose bicycles needed some TLC. The problem was: we had no money and few resources for getting the workshops off the ground. With the help of a bit of funding from Love to Ride and NUS’s UniCycle project, however, we were on our way to having just enough tools and equipment to get moving.

Bikehall began with a series of bike maintenance workshops in autumn, 2018. We invited folks to join us for a two hour class about a specific part of the bicycle (brakes, gears, etc.) followed by a hearty meal cooked by volunteers. The sessions were well-attended and we had some great feedback. Our team of committed volunteers also grew after workshop-attendees wanted to get more involved.

After our initial success, it would be wrong to say it was all plain sailing from there. In 2019 our workshop attendance dropped off and we soon realised we needed to promote the sessions more widely. We also decided we wanted to experiment with different kinds of events, to act as cycling advocates and not just bicycle tinkerers. We ran a film night in collaboration with Foodhall’s TV Dinners project, in which we showcased three short films from a diverse range of film makers.

The TV Dinners event poster

We also organised our first Bikehall bike ride – a 20km(ish) route out to Damflask reservoir in the foothills of the Peak District. We also changed our workshops to an open bike kitchen-style ‘Build-a-Bike’ workshop format – through which we rejuvenate donated bikes to sell but also help other people fix their own bikes. This gives us more flexibility during the sessions, regardless of how many people turn up.

Running these events and making the change to the workshop format has helped us maintain a more sustainable schedule for us as volunteers and for people who want to join in. Support from other local organisations has also helped a lot. We had 5 bikes donated to us from the University of Sheffield, lots of hardware donated from COMAC Bike Project, and some more bikes given to us from ReCycle Bikes – who run their own well-priced Bike Kitchen with a really supportive team of mechanics.

All of this means that in 2020 we’re planning to do even more. We have another ride (or two) in the works, we’re organising another film/documentary screening (with food!), and we’re running bimonthly build-a-bike workshops (every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, from 5.30-8pm). In addition, we’re building our own permanent bike workshop space in Foodhall’s basement – to give more people access to a fully kitted out workshop at different times of the day. It’s all shaping up to be another great year for Bikehall.

If you want to get involved please check out our webpage or email us at We especially need experienced and/or confident bike mechanics to help supervise workshops. If that sounds like you, then please get in touch!

Rolls Royce Celebrate

On a cold but sunny February morning, our Local Project Manager for Derby, Lucy Giuliano, had the pleasure of officially unveiling the new Cyclehoop bike rack at Rolls Royce.

Rolls Royce staff celebrate their victory

Global winners of our 2019 Cycle September challenge, staff from across the site gathered to enjoy homemade cake, a quick spin on an electric bike courtesy of local bike shop Cyclomonster and encouraging talks from Rolls Royce’s Director of Health, Safety and Environment, as well as their hard working champion Eloise Thatcher, who organised the event.

Kindly provided by Cyclehoop, the bike rack is a much needed addition to the very well used cycle storage and there are already plans to expand the cycle storage provision as a result of the win. The importance of cycling is highlighted on the custom made plaque commissioned by Eloise and hopefully Rolls Royce will continue their winning streak throughout our upcoming challenges in 2020!

Rolls Royce’s plaque celebrating their win