Month-long cycling festival makes its return

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 08:00 19/01/2013
Sport Manawatu organisers Suze Winterburn, left, Kathy McMillan, Georgia Benson and Chris Sanson

ON YER BIKE: Sport Manawatu organisers Suze Winterburn, left, Kathy McMillan, Georgia Benson and Chris Sanson, prepare for the cycling festival.

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The longest annual cycling festival in New Zealand is pedalling its way into Manawatu, aiming to get every person in the region riding a bike.

"33 days of cycling", co-ordinated by Sport Manawatu, will be launched on Wednesday.

In its second year, the cycling campaign works around New Zealand's only UCI tour - the New Zealand Cycle Classic.

Every day will feature an event, activity or competition related to riding a bike, ending with the La Femme ride on February 24.

Event co-ordinator Kathy McMillan said plenty of New Zealand regions had cycling festivals but she was not aware of any lasting as long as 33 days.

The festival was about focusing on the community benefits of riding a bike and featured racing as well as family-friendly events and competitions, she said.

Throughout the 33 days, people will be encouraged to cycle to work and businesses will be able to sign up to a Business Battle to track the amount of trips they make.

The way people in Manawatu viewed cycling continued to improve, McMillan said.

"I think it's great that the council is moving to make this region the best place to ride a bike.

"Obviously there's still some drivers who don't like getting out of the way of cyclists but that will always be the case, really."

The goal of "33 days of cycling" was to get everyone in Manawatu involved at least once in some shape or form.

"That would be amazing, even if it was just entering to win one of the bikes we have.

"We really want to encourage everyone to hop on a bike at least once during the 33 days, whether it's just biking to work or taking part in an event."

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- Manawatu Standard

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