The Aotearoa Bike Challenge Auckland Region is back, and once again partnering with Variety – the Children’s Charity to raise funds for Bikes for Kids, a programme that provides bikes and helmets to deserving children in low-decile Auckland schools.
The Challenge runs from 1st to 29th of February and participants are encouraged to cycle at least 10 minutes a day and raise funds for a good cause. Every $250 raised will provide a brand-new bike and helmet to a disadvantaged Kiwi kid. Last year’s participants raised enough for 80 bikes and the top fundraisers presented the bikes to their proud new owners.
So far, around the country, 1,775 organisations and 13,483 people have registered to participate, of which 486 organisations and 3,230 individuals are from Auckland alone.
Cliff Wilton, Auckland Transport's sustainable mobility manager, says they are hoping to top last year's stats of over 5,000 people riding, including 1,179 new riders, who altogether rode almost 1 million kilometres.
“We have made the Challenge more exciting this year to get more people to participate and raise funds at the same time. We are giving away prizes to both individual and work teams and calling on everyone to convince friends and family to sign up. And with our partnership with Variety for the second straight year, riding and raising funds at the same time is a fun and meaningful way to take on the Challenge,” Cliff Wilton says.
Variety Chief Executive, Lorraine Taylor, said that last year’s fundraising helped Kiwi kids in need experience the freedom and independence of having and riding their own bike.
“Our Bikes for Kids programme has provided thousands of children with their very own bike. We have received positive feedback from families of recipients, including one mum who said her daughter absolutely loved the bike and has used it until she outgrew it; then passed it on to another child who would otherwise not have a bike. And now the partnership with Auckland Transport has enabled us to expand the reach of the programme and help even more Kiwi kids enjoy, what is a rite of passage for many New Zealand children, having a bike of their own,” Lorraine says.
Last year’s top individual fundraiser was "Ryan the Lion" Ashton who raised $9,000, with the support of 94 donations, from the price of a coffee to $500, through a range of fun 'dares' meet to raise the money. From painting his nails to wearing wigs and singing - Ryan showed everything in a daily video as evidence the donation was earned.
"I originally did it as a way to make my fitness accountable, then when I saw how people got behind the cause, and we could see the amount rising, and how the kids we were able to help enjoy the traditional Kiwi lifestyle - racing around on bikes with their mates - the more I wanted to engage with those who were prepared to give. This year I have asked for the help of other riders, and we've created ‘The ROARSOME Paleton’ with all team members bringing in more donations together than I can alone. We'll be doing group rides and welcome anyone to join, ride and do it for the kids!" Ryan says.
Auckland accounting firm, BHW, is also part of the challenge and raised funds for Variety last year.
“The BHW team thought it sounded like a fun idea to get everyone out on their bikes for something different. It included a bit of light competition internally which always keeps it interesting. We had a couple of people that biked to work already so we used that as a starting point. The best outcome was the team building aspect, as well as getting the team moving outside of the office. We found fundraising for Variety very rewarding and would definitely recommend it to other individuals and companies,” Claire Bryant, BHW’s Marketing Manager says.
To register for the Challenge and fundraise for Bikes for Kids today, go to www.lovetoride.net/auckland