Aotearoa Bike Challenge

09 Feb, 2021
Auckland Bike Challenge
David owns an electric cargo bike which he uses to commute into work every day with his two young children.

The Aotearoa Bike Challenge is on now! This is a fun free competition to see which workplace can get the most people on bikes this month. Not only is cycling great for your health and wellbeing, it saves you money on parking and fuel, gets more cars off the road reducing air pollution and traffic, and reduces your carbon footprint. As an added benefit, this month, cycling will give you the chance to win lots of awesome prizes if you sign up to the Bike Challenge!

We interviewed cycling enthusiast, chair of the VC's Sustainability Taskforce and Senior Lecturer Dr David Hall to see why he bikes and what advice he has. David owns an electric cargo bike which he uses to commute into work every day with his two young children.

Describe your commute.

From the sleepy streets of Mt Eden, onto the cycleways of upper Dominion Road and Grafton Gully, then pop across Symonds Street to drop off the kids at AUT Childcare, then onto the lock-up beneath the WT Building where I work.

What made you start biking rather than driving or catching the bus?

Reasons big and small. The big one is climate change. When they're older, I want my kids to remember that we were part of turning the corner on emissions. And then there's the smaller, less nobler reasons, which are sometimes the most motivating. For instance, I absolutely hate being stuck in traffic. Also, transporting two toddlers on a bus without a meltdown is really hard. So, in all sorts of immediate ways, the e-bike makes commuting easier and more pleasant.

What do you see as the benefits of biking?

For the kids, every trip to daycare is an adventure - they love it. Especially whooshing down the Grafton Gully cycleway. It's also incidental exercise, which is a vital contrast to the often sedentary work of academia. I get the blood moving at least twice a day, without needing to carve out extra time from my schedule.

What else, other than commuting to work, do you use your bike for?

Everything. All my errands. Grocery shopping. Trips to the beach. I knew a cargo bike would be useful, but I didn't quite anticipate that it would almost totally substitute the car. Basically, anything within about 6-7 km, I don't even think about it.

What would you say to someone thinking about trying cycling for commuting?

A major impediment for many people, and specifically for me cycling with a 2- and 4-year-old, is safety on the roads. And that is totally warranted. Some drivers can be thoughtless or uncertain about how to share the road with cyclists. Other drivers can be outright reckless or actively dangerous. So, a lot hangs on your access to the cycleways. If you do live close to a cycleway and haven't tried it yet, then please do try!! You'll realise that there's a fourth dimension to Auckland, a whole infrastructure which can get you a long way. But if you don't live close to a cycleway, and you don't feel comfortable on the main roads, then there's no shame in not cycling. However, it is a reason to write a letter to AT, Auckland Council and Waka Kotahi and tell them to hurry up with cycling infrastructure!!

Do you have any tips and tricks for aspiring bikers?

Don't forget your helmet!!

Sign up now at Love to Ride, get on your bike (even If it is just for 10 minutes), and log your rides!

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