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:

2019 Australian Bike Summit

Christina Sorbello is Love to Ride’s Regional Manager for Asia Pacific.  As a graduate of the School of Social Entrepreneurs, she is passionate about social impact and how effecting change in local communities can mean transformative shifts for our cities.

Christina took a trip to Melbourne for the 2019 Australian Bike Summit and sums up her day here.

Marvel Stadium, Melbourne

Stepping off the plane in Melbourne last week was a bit of a rude shock for this sunny Queenslander.  As a Sydney sider for almost a decade, you’d think I’d be accustomed to the cooler climes, but alas, it seems I’ve been happily ensconced in a mild Queensland Autumn forgetting just how brutal those icy southern winds can be.  Nonetheless, Melbourne has plenty to distract oneself from the biting chill, including, of course, the good coffee and fine food. But this trip it wasn’t the double ristrettos or cannolis I had come for (although those were good too!), this time, I was delighted to be attending my first Australian Bicycle Summit.

Hosted by We Ride Australia and held at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium – a national treasure for footy fanatics – AKA, the whole of Victoria – the event was well attended by industry folk, city representatives and academics alike.  It’s always great to be in a room filled with passionate people, so clearly committed to getting more people on bikes in Australia – all bushy tailed and bright eyed!  The focus of this year’s event was smart tech, active transport, and the ‘Towards Zero’ message – a theme reiterated through much of the summit and a welcome one to all.

Towards Zero

For any interstate or antipodean readers who may not be aware of this campaign, Towards Zero is a combined partnership between the Transport Accident Commission, VicRoads, Victoria Police, the Department of Justice and Regulation and the Department of Health and Human Services. Working alongside the community, they share a belief that zero deaths and serious injuries on Vic Roads can be a reality.  In line with this, we heard from the CEO of the Transport Accident Commission, Joe Calafiore, who reiterated their commitment to safer roads for Victorians and Australians. 

As Melbourne continues to urbanise and the demand on the public infrastructure sharply intensifies, Melbournites eagerly seek alternative modes of travel.  The TAC is committed to ensuring that those of us choosing to embark on active travel, equally and increasingly find the roads conducive and inclusive:  An important message not only for those of us on bikes but for everyone using our roads.  And, as we heard, we are now sharing our roads more than ever….


It’s true we share our roads with cars and pedestrians, but cities globally are recognising the importance of micromobility: bikes; scooters; e-bikes; as the future of transportation too.  As delegates, we were treated to a broad-ranging and thought-provoking speech by Tim Papandreou who has lead projects on automated and emerging transports for Waymo and Google X.  By 2050, 75% of the world is predicted to urbanise and cities are already struggling to move people and things around on a road network that cannot expand (although we can go up, yet flying cars are not in our short term future!). 

A strategy increasingly adopted by smart cities who recognise this is the reuse and repurpose of the existing road to maximise the space.  After all, there are a number more bikes that can fit into the same space as a single occupancy car but encouraging more cyclists and other types of micromobility, means offering them the same prime infrastructure offered to those driving vehicles and the same direct routes.

More transportation options than ever before!

We also heard from Tim on how San Francisco had managed to grow their bicycle mode share to 6%, in part, by restructuring the layout of many arterial roads enticing more modes to use them.  This also contributed to the rise and proliferation of new transport options never seen before, primarily enabled by smartphone technology and driven by the on-demand and sharing economy.

Infographic: San Francisco Mobility Trends Report 2018

Ride to Work Scheme

It was also interesting to learn about the new Ride to Work Scheme being launched by Swisse. This is a ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme that gives employees big savings on new bikes and enables them to pay in monthly installments. Based largely on the very successful and popular Cycle to Work Scheme in the UK that has been running since 1999, we look forward to working with employers and providers across Australia to promote this scheme as a great way to make cycling really affordable from the outset, potentially removing the purchase of a bike as a barrier to riding. Love to Ride is working with Cyclescheme in the UK and we hope to emulate this work in Australia too.

A little gloomy, great day though!

Coming away from the summit I had much to think about and what a better way to ruminate and the warm the cockles of my (now frozen) heart but to wend my way around the Yarra on my bike.  I recognised the summit and the speakers had given me a sense that the greater vision is shared by so many and if we can continue on this path, I feel confident for the future of an ever metropolitan, micro-mobile, Melbourne and our Australian cities beyond.

Our most popular program ever

Waaaay back in the beginning, in the early noughties, the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) was one of the very first partners to get behind the Workplace Cycle Challenge concept that gave birth to a social business now known as Love to Ride.

After 15 years of development, and expansion to 12 countries, Love to Ride returned to New Zealand again in 2017 and partnered with the NZTA to launch the ‘Aotearoa Bike Challenge’. 

Having since been delivered three consecutive years, this country-wide event, has now successfully grown into the most popular and successful program of its kind in the world. In 2019 this culminated in a whopping 0.5% of the entire NZ population participating.

This blog explores some of the key features and findings of our most successful cycling encouragement and behaviour change program yet.

The flexibility within the Love to Ride platform allows for regions within a country to localise a site for their area and provide a local flavour to their participants.  New Zealand regions did a particularly great job of this and this type of collaboration is reflected in the below levels of participation.

2% of the working age population of the Greater Christchurch Region (population 396,000) participated in this year’s Love to Ride Aotearoa program.

Mobilising the Choir

Our programs give existing riders the tools and resources they need to encourage the ‘interested but concerned’ would be riders of our communities to give cycling a go.  Across all of our programs globally we see an approximate 1:1 ratio – that is for every regular rider who participates, they encourage a new or occasional rider to participate too.

Women love to ride too – of course we do!

It may come as a surprise to some, in what is largely considered as a male-dominated recreation, but the below gender split graph is typical of what we are seeing in our Love to Ride programs around the world. As a team, we’ve worked hard to buck the gender imbalance trends and it’s refreshing and exciting to see this work paying off in so many more women riding.

It’s also interesting to see that it’s fairly consistent across the regions:

It’s also interesting to note that the major urban centres like Auckland and Wellington, have higher proportions of male riders taking part (~60% male), while the more provincial areas like Northland and Southland have the opposite (~40% male and ~60% female).

Current modes of travel

It may come as no surprise at all that driving alone was the most frequent method of commuting to work at 37%. This was closely followed by travelling by bike at 33%.

By splitting the data into regions, we can also see the greatest opportunity for potential behaviour change with 50% or more participants commuting to work by driving alone in Northland, Southland and Bay of Plenty:

New Zealanders strive to live sustainably

New Zealanders are well known for their commitment to sustainable living and this was reflected in the data when we asked them to tell us what motivated them to ride. 

Living sustainably was the 3rd most important motivator at 33%, followed by 56% for enjoying the outdoors and 88% for improved fitness.

In fact, sustainability was more frequently cited over improved health for most of the regions except Tasman, Nelson & Marlborough and Waikato.

We can also compare the data by region to provide some insight into our communities.  Saving money was more commonly cited in Canterbury as a key motivation (16% of respondents) compared to Northland (7%).

Barriers, real and perceived

Globally, we consistently see weather as a barrier people tell us they face when riding a bike. By understanding what barriers people face, we are able to give them the tools to overcome them and move them along a personal journey of change.

Whether it’s cycle confidence training for those who feel uneasy on the roads, discounts of great wet weather gear for riding in the rain, or a short video on how to fix a flat if the bike is in disrepair, Love to Ride works to break barriers down and, in doing so, open up the many benefits that riding brings.

However, when we deep dive into rider type, we unveil more about what each group perceives as their main barriers.  This information provides real insight into the kinds of interventions we can help facilitate to overcome these hurdles and ultimately change behaviour for the better.

For most of the regions, ‘not feeling confident’ was the main barrier for new riders. This was closely followed or surpassed by ‘not knowing a safe route’.

Auckland and Northland occasional riders cited not knowing a safe route as their main barrier to riding more often – all other regions attributed the weather as their main barrier. This was particularly notable in Wellington where 25% of respondents cited the weather as a barrier to riding or ridng more often.

End of trip facilities – the way to your employee’s heart?

Bad weather is more prominently a key barrier for regular riders largely due to it being one of a few barriers that are outside of our control. It is also the case that many of the other barriers have been whittled down to almost being non-existent, something that comes with time and experience.

Up next

The team at Love to Ride feel an incredible sense of pride having created a program that engaged so many people and through them achieved these results. For me, as a social marketer interested in social impact, it’s exactly these kinds of outcomes that get me excited for the potential for positive change in our cities and our communities globally.

Photo credit:

In 2020, we hope to turn the needle even more and take the challenge to new heights.  Mind-blowing!

Can we help you get more people in your community or business riding bikes? Email or take a peek at

Does Why You Ride Depend on Where You Live? The Results Might Surprise You…

The month of September 2018 was a career highlight for me as we brought the inaugural Love to Ride challenge to Brisbane, my birth town. I had no doubt that a city as progressive as Brisbane (no bias here!) would embrace the challenge and do me proud. Of course, I was right! (When am I not?)

A roaring success, this workplace based cycling challenge saw 2,327 participants take part from over 220 organisations. One of the key features of the Love to Ride platform is the ability for our partners to access crucial data which helps them understand the drivers and barriers of people living in their city, ultimately culminating in better planning and communications.

Let’s jump in and take a look at some of the key results for Brisbane:

Headline Results Brisbane 2018




  • New riders


  • Occasional riders


  • Regular riders


Distances (KM) 603,854
Total trips 31,818
% trips for transport purposes 49%
CO2 saved (kg) 34,459

Great to see over 49% of people logging using their bikes for commuting!

A MAFIL* if you will?

We often hear about the MAMIL* but the data consistently shows us that increasingly women love to be on their bikes too. Over 40% of registrants in Brisbane were female.

Age and gender registrants

A closer look as to how that breaks down into rider level…

gender by rider type

Public transport was the most frequent method of travel amongst new riders (43%) followed closely by driving alone (36%). The opposite was true for occasional riders, with driving alone at 38% and public transport close behind at 34%.

modes of travel


After we run a challenge, we look at how people’s attitudes and behaviours have shifted when compared to the baseline survey they completed at sign up.

3 week survey findings

72% of new riders and 46% of occasional riders reported an intention to increase how often they ride compared to 12 months before the challenge. These ‘interested by concerned’ people had experienced a definite shift in behaviour.

Did Love to Ride help you ride more

85% of new riders and 66% of occasional riders noted that the Love to Ride Brisbane challenge encouraged them to ride more often.


Motivations for riding Brisbane

Not just the Jacarandas! Those Brisbanites sure are a healthy bunch!


New rider barriers by City

Giving new riders the confidence and knowledge they need to get out on  a bike is crucial and universal to Aussie cities.

Occ rider barriers by CIty

Certainly the type of rider influences the perceived barriers, however, weather is consistently the biggest factor for regular riders.

Regular rider barriers by City


In fact, regardless of rider type, weather is a huge factor right across the globe too. Just check it out!

Barriers by Country

Amazing huh?

Our partners can access all this information and communicate with both existing and new riders in their area. Targeting in this way ensures the message is specific and relevant. So, all the good stuff our partners are doing to get more people riding… bike courses, infrastructure building, route planning services… is being received by the right audience segment making it more useful and effective to recipients.

Want to take the temperature of your city and get more people on bikes? Send me a message and let’s chat.

– Christina Sorbello

Love to Ride, Australia Country Manager

Love to Ride works in 13 countries around the world to get more people cycling, more often. If you’re interested in finding out how you can encourage cycling and collect useful data on cycling in your area, then please get in touch. We’re always happy to hear from people like yourself. Contact: