About 30% of New Zealanders regularly ride bikes which is a big increase from even just a couple of decades ago. A lot of that has to do with more people riding their bike to work and this is reflected in the increased demand for our commuter bikes which include urban bikes for added comfort and folding bikes for easy storage once they reach the office.
For all that, it would be great to see even more Kiwis get on their bikes, ride to work and enjoy the health benefits at the same time. Research suggests that cycling just 32 kilometres a week can reduce the risk of heart disease to less than half, while the more we cycle the more we reduce the likelihood of other serious conditions including Type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Yet we’re still in love with our cars. Did you know, that most car journeys in New Zealand involve only one person with no luggage and are less than six kilometres? In fact, one-third of vehicle trips are less than two kilometres! That sort of distance is ideal for cycling, especially when done regularly. Any exercise is better than none: half of New Zealand adults don’t get enough exercise, while physical inactivity contributes to around 8% of all deaths and is the second leading risk factor for becoming disabled.
That’s all scary stuff but thankfully, here in Christchurch where we are based, we tend to be more active than most, especially when it comes to commuting to work on a bike. Figures show that almost 20,000 people in Christchurch usually bike to work or study on a typical day, and those figures don’t take into account all the bicycle trips done for other purposes. Percentage-wise, 6.2% of people in Christchurch bike to work compared to 4.4% in Wellington and just 1.1% in Auckland - although when you look at the dangers of cycling on crowded Auckland city roads, it is understandable that so many people are scared of riding on them. And, of course, Auckland is a huge and sprawling city and cycling to work is not practical for many workers.Part of the reason that commuting to work in Christchurch is increasingly popular is the development of the cycle pathway network in the city. This is happening all over the country too, and cycling to the office is now safer than ever before because a lot of these paths are off-road. It’s great to see more people commuting on two wheels but for the health of all Kiwis, we’d love to see more leave the car at home and pedal to work. If you want to join the cycling commuter revolution, contact us and get fitter while getting to work.