TRANSPORT – Who won the Aotearoa Bike Challenge? And what happens next?

14 March 2017

SBN members made a strong showing in last month’s workplace cycling challenge. Find out who won, and how the competition has inspired one company to get more of its staff on the pedals year round.

Local councils dominated the podium in the 500+ staff category, with Tauranga, Greater Wellington and New Plymouth taking out first, second and third.  SBN member Wilderness Motorhomes took the win in the 50-199 staff category, being one of two companies that managed to get every single one of their staff to take part. SBN members Warren and Mahoney (Christchurch) and Tonkin + Taylor (Christchurch) came in third and fourth.

SBN is celebrating third place in its category, by doing some more cycling! Last week we took our e-bike supplied by Electric Bikes Auckland over to Tourism Holdings Limited (THL). The company came 10th in the Aotearoa Bike Challenge. This is impressive. CEO Grant Webster told us that previous to the challenge only one or two of the 45 Auckland-based THL staff used a bike.

Grant led the way. The 44 year old swapped his regular car commute from Howick for a shiny new e-bike bought just before the challenge. His interest was piqued last year when the company took part in an SBN organised e-bike trial.

“I’ve got no chance of biking in to work at my fitness level, given that I am about 21km away,” he explains. “I tried the e-bike and thought, ‘you know what, this is going to make this doable!’ I can bike in in the same time it used to take me in the car. If it’s a busy traffic day going home, say a Friday or a long weekend, it’s quicker on the bike.”

Also leading from the C-suite is CFO Mark Davis. He chose the traditional pedalling option from Westmere. The trip is about two thirds on cycleway from the company’s offices on Beach Road. It only takes him an extra 15 mins each way than it would in the car.

“It’s a really efficient way for me to get an extra hour of exercise a day from just an extra half hour of travel time,” he says.

The company has a shower at the office, and when asked about a company fleet bike during this interview Grant said: “You’ve just given us the best idea. We are a short walk for meetings in town, but for people to be able to pop down on an e-bike makes a lot more sense.

“We are starting to get more into well-being, culture and sustainability. We have been on the journey for a while, but we are taking a few quantum leaps this year.”

We’ll come back in a few months’ time to check out the new bike. We’ll also see who is tough enough to keep things going through the winter.