Spending February behind bars

Active Voice
with Michelle Barns
Sport BOP Recreation Advisor

I don't normally make a New Year's resolution, but for 2018 I have made a commitment to spend February behind bars. Handle bars.

Every year at Sport Bay of Plenty the month of February is Bike Month, and though it is my role to develop this month-long calendar of free and low-cost events and activities alongside recreation providers in our community, I spend very little time on my own bike.

This year, that is going to change.

I have a second-hand bike that I bought off Trade Me a good 10 years ago. Her name is Glenda. She's been my trusty steed on trips to the dairy for milk and bread, and together we've made the journey across the harbour bridge to beat traffic to the Mount, but she's in need of a tune up.

Luckily, Avanti Plus Mount Maunganui are hosting ‘Bike Basics Workshops' where they teach folks like me how to maintain my bike and even change a tube. I'm fairly sure my Dad tried to teach me this life lesson once, but it's time to learn from the experts (Sorry, pops).

Once Glenda is ready to roll, I'm going to join in on the three Weekend on Wheels rides. These are guided rides (which is perfect for me, as my navigational skills have seen me lost in a shopping mall) that explore different areas of the city.

Having never spent much time in Papamoa, I'm most looking forward the February 25 ride that explores Papamoa's connecting trails. The organiser of this ride, Paul Roozendaal, explained that the route has “plenty of thrills with no hills”, which sounds like a great way to spend a weekend morning!

To keep up my cycling during the week, I'm going to ride to and from work as much as I can. I've done it before and it's a great way to start the day, not to mention it saves me money on petrol.

The ‘fan effect' of cycling outdoors in the fresh air is also probably more effective than the air-conditioning system in my lovingly titled car Sylvia.

To keep me motivated, I've signed up to the Aotearoa Bike Challenge (ABC), a free, workplace competition that's all about seeing which workplaces can get the most people to ride a bike for 10 minutes or more. Everyone who logs a ride on the website during February is in with a chance to win prizes – I'm always up for that – and I've downloaded the ‘Ride Report' app to my phone which automatically knows when I'm on my bike and logs my ride straight to the website. Easy!

Given ABC is about getting as many people from my workplace on a bike as possible, I've taken the role of ‘spokesperson' for Sport Bay of Plenty and am busy encouraging my colleagues to sign up and jump on a bike too.

The more people who get to experience the joy of cycling, the better – so long as they share their prizes with me if they win!

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Walk around the Mount. Photos: Denis Player.

Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty. kendra@thesun.co.nz