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Up for the challenge

Today is the second day of the 2021 Aotearoa Bike Challenge, which runs until the end of February.

Keeping a close eye on the leaderboard are two Gisborne forestry companies who are up for some friendly competition,

More than 25,000 people have registered for the competition from 2587 organisations across the country.

It is a free competition to see which workplaces or groups can get the most people riding a bike for 10 minutes or more a day.

Gisborne couple Megan and Andrew Costello are signed up and ready to go.

They work in the same industry but for different companies — Andrew is at Aratu Forests while Megan works for Ernslaw One.

Megan says the forestry companies in town work well together and everyone knows each other. They are not usually competitive until it comes to sports challenges, then it’s game on.

She knows their Ernslaw team will not want Aratu to beat them.

“It is super motivating.”

Megan says the benefits of biking are huge, especially for those in office environments.

“Having challenges you can do with your workplace is great because you want to feel supported by your office to get outside, especially if you sit at a desk for eight hours a day.

“Any time we can move and get outside helps with the endorphins, which helps with mental health and wellbeing.”

Megan is a busy mum of two who knows how life can take over.

If she can sneak in a 10-minute bike ride, not only will it get her team closer to a win, it will benefit her mental health.

Plus a bike ride at lunchtime or on the way to work, “makes you more productive”.

“Biking extends that feeling of being on holiday or on a summer vacation.

“Even on hot day you still get a breeze.

“You are not in the office, and you’re not at home, you’re in your own zone.”

Gisborne is a great place for cyclists with boardwalks, walkways, scenic routes, and flat roads — as long as you avoid the trouble spots at particular times, says another regular cyclist.

“There are certain times of the day it does not feel safe in our little Gisborne rush hour,” says the cyclist who commutes from Hexton to town each day for work.

“No one wants to hit a cyclist but sometimes drivers don’t see us. You have to be very alert.

“Cycling is an awesome way to get around. There’s never a problem with parking, it’s good for your health and it’s good for the environment.

Last Thursday she and some friends cycled along the Waipaoa stopbanks, via Dunstan Road.

Near the end of their ride they stopped at The Royal (formerly The Jolly Stockman) for a cold beer and a bite to eat.

“It was nice to have that, especially at the end of the bike ride, to refresh yourself,”

Cyclists would like to see more cycleways linking the whole city, especially on school routes for children.

Megan, who organises the Gisborne parkrun every Saturday morning, has noticed more people on bikes on the Oneroa walkway at 7.30am as she sets up — especially people on e-bikes.

GREAT WAY TO GET AROUND: Regular cyclists Nicki Davies and Megan Costello at the top of the mountain bike track in Fox Street. Picture supplied