Riders power up the pedals

By Kiri Gillespie

What better time to bring out an 8ft (2.4m) bicycle known as "one less car" than Go By Bike Day?

Phil Shoemack's Thai-designed bicycle stood out among a posse of people putting power to the pedal in Tauranga yesterday.

The Toi Te Ora Public Health Service medical officer of health joined a number of other people who traded in their cars for bicycles as part of national Go By Bike Day.

The unusual bicycle was bought off Trade Me last year.

It has since been used to take grandchildren on rides along Mount Maunganui's shoreline, Dr Shoemack said.

Yesterday, Dr Shoemack used it to travel to four Go By Bike Day checkpoints around the city.

Each spot offered cyclists freebies and breakfast treats.

People throughout New Zealand were encouraged to get on their bikes as part of Bike Wise Month, the country's annual celebration of cycling.

Dr Shoemack said the benefits of cycling compared to car travel were endless and the more people who cycled, the better.

"It's convenient, it's fun, it's certainly good for the body, saves money, reduces climate change," he said.

"If we can get more of the population on a bike, it means more awareness when they are in a car."

Last year, more than 54,000 New Zealanders took part in Bike Wise events. NZ Transport Agency spokeswoman Jennie Gianotti said Go By Bike Day was a fun and popular event that encouraged Kiwis to get out on their bikes again after the festive season, while the weather was great.

"Go By Bike Day is the perfect opportunity to either give cycling a go or rekindle that relationship with your bike," she said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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