The Love to Ride Blog

Creating a more bike friendly world

In February 2021, Love to Ride worked with the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to deliver its fifth national Aotearoa Bike Challenge and encouraged thousands more New Zealanders to ride a bike, with 24,719 people from nearly 2,400 organisations taking part, including over 4,327 new riders.

Throughout the month participants made more than 291,193 trips by bike, cycling an impressive 4.4 million kilometres in total, resulting in a saving of 252,032 kg of CO2 being released.

All rides and rider types

Short rides, long rides, rides with kids, to shops, to work… as with all our challenges, our approach is one of accessibility regardless of rider demographics. The challenge isn’t about who can cycle the furthest or the most frequently, participants are encouraged to enjoy a bike ride of even just 10 minutes anywhere, anytime. Even short bike journeys give riders the chance to win prizes and watch their workplaces climb the leaderboard!

The results are in:

Headline Results


Organisations (Participated)




·   New riders


·   Occasional riders


·   Regular riders


Distances (kilometres)


Total trips


% trips for recreation


% trips for commuting purposes


% trips to other destinations


CO2 saved (kg)


Energy burnt (million kJ)


“The Aotearoa Bike Challenge is an opportunity for more New Zealanders to experience just how easy it is to incorporate cycling into everyday life and improve their health and wellbeing. Getting about by bike is often an efficient way to get around our towns and cities, and for many Kiwis who choose to ride to work, it’s a great way to start and end their day”.

Robyn Elston, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Senior Manager, System Design.


60% of New Riders are Female

ABC 2021 Riders by gender

  • 19% of all participants were new to riding, or had not cycled at all in the 12 months. 
  • The majority of this audience were made up of female riders (60%), a trend we are proud to demonstrate across all our global programs as we work towards bridging the gender-cycling gap and encouraging more women to ride.


Identified barriers and targeted encouragement

ABC 2021 Participation by rider type

  • 46% of challenge participants told us that they rode a bike once a week or less often. These riders make up our new and occasional riders. 
  • Through behaviour change methodology and peer-to-peer encouragement, these users are targeted with the advice and encouragement they need according to their identified barriers to ride more often during the challenge.  Whilst regular riders, those who ride twice a week or more, are encouraged to try commuting to work.


Rider types and engagement

ABC 2021 average engagement

  • New rider participants, on average, enjoyed a total of 7 rides during the 28 day challenge period.  Resulting in a total of one ride per week, clocking up 11 kilometres per ride. 
  • Occasional riders biked a similar number of rides to new riders but for a greater distance, riding 14 kilometres per trip with 50% for transportation purposes.
  • Regular riders logged double the number of transport trips.


"The challenge made me realise riding to work is quite enjoyable. I needed the motivation to get started "- Liv G, New rider

"I'm finding more and more it's actually faster to use my bike instead of the car. E.g. for rainy school pick ups I can ride right up to the gate rather than dealing with parking. My kids think it's so much more fun too! (My bike takes 2 kids on the back.)" - Hayley H, Regular rider



An important milestone in our programs are our post-challenge surveys. In March, we surveyed challenge participants to gather feedback on the program as well as to gather important metrics on future cycling behaviour intention. 


Encouraging riders at every level to ride more 

ACB 2021 how much you cycled

  • The program was successful in encouraging new and occasional riders to bike more often than they would normally
  • 43% of regular riders noted the challenge encouraged them to ride more often, 21% intend to ride more often to work in the next 12 months.
  • 60% of new riders and 41% of occasional riders intend to increase how often they ride in the next 12 months.


Resulting mode shift

ABC 2021 - How many trips

  • More than half of all riders replaced at least one car trip with a bike ride, two weeks after the Challenge. 
  • 1 in 4 regular riders completed at least four rides after the challenge that they would have usually done by car previously.

The success of the challenge and the outcomes of the post challenge data demonstrates exciting and tangible behaviour change among participants.  It’s easy to therefore understand why this program has become a flagship event on the calendar for the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Authority.  We’ll check back in with the NZ data set for our 6 month final evaluation report, where we further measure and report findings on long term behaviour change of participants.  


If you’re interested in data like this for your area please get in touch.


Or, keep read what challenge participants had to say:

"I plan to ride more often as I had the realisation that it’s not that hard and it’s good for fitness and for emissions" - Natalie C, New rider

"I loved the challenge experience, my family and I encouraged many mates to come ride. Overall it got health and Whānau together." - Olivia E, Occasional rider

"I was considering biking to work from my old flat and never made it happen. Then I moved flats and the bike challenge happened at the same time of my move. So the 2 factors were enough to trigger me into riding to work again." - Jessie W, New rider

"Pushing myself during the challenge made me realise how much I enjoyed biking, more energy. - Jennifer A, Regular rider
My overall health & fitness has improved and I feel really good when I get out in the fresh air. - Wayne A, Regular rider
The challenge motivated me to get on the bike and once I was biking it reminded me how much I actually enjoy it." - Anne S, New rider

"The challenge re-ignited my love of using a bike to get places, so much that I bought a new bike! - Megan L, New rider
I was encouraged by a colleague to lease an e-bike, which I have since purchased and am now making approximately 80-90% of my trips by bike!" - Georgia C, New rider

"The challenge encouraged me to get the bike out of the shed, pump up the tyres and get back into the routine of cycling to work." - Shaun M, New rider


Published on: 4, Dec 2023

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