Ministry of Health: Cycling

As a form of transport, the bike is hard to beat. It is non-polluting, human powered, takes up little space and is often the quickest form of transport for journeys of less than 5 km, especially around towns and cities.

Beyond simply getting from ‘A' to ‘B', cycling can be a wonderful leisure-time activity and offers excellent health benefits for relatively little cost.

Whether you are into cycling to work or school, for leisure or for fitness, the information below can help make cycling more fun and effective for you and your whānau.


We all win when more people bike, more often

We all win when more people bike, more often

Opinion piece for DomPost, (printed with minor edits, 24 January 2012, pB5)

Riding a bike is fun. Most of us remember the sense of freedom when cruising round the neighbourhood as kids. It is a convenient way to get around. It eliminates parking worries. Our air and waterways are cleaner.

Biking makes you feel good.

So why do we waste time and money by bickering?

Short cycle ride may prevent pre-menopausal weight gain

Increased bicycle riding and brisk walking may be the secret for preventing weight gain, women have been told.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that cycling or a brisk walk was associated with less weight among pre-menopausal women, particularly those who were already overweight or obese.

The US study calculated that about two-thirds of American adults were overweight or obese, while 16 per cent of children and adolescents were overweight and a further 34 per cent were at risk.

Parkinson's disease symptoms shown to be reduced by forced pedaling on a stationary bicycle

Forced stationary bicycle pedalingtherapy at a high steady cadence (RPM) has recently been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD). Dr. Jay Alberts, a researcher at the Cleveland Clinic, in a paper presented in Paris, June 15, 2009, reported that Parkinsons disease patients, who were forced to pedal at a high steady rate (80-90 RPM) showed a 35% improvement in motor function.

$200 million per year in health costs saved if more people cycle

5% more cyclists saves $200 million.

Researchers say New Zealand could save $200 million per year in health costs if more motorists opted to use a bike instead.

The Centre for Sustainable Cities says it would take only 5% of car trips being replaced by bike rides to make the savings.

Manager Jan Logie says the extra exercise would also save the lives of more than a hundred people each year.


Councillor on a Bike

Short Films: Councillor on a Bike, and
Doctor on a Bike

Jackie Fristacky’s excellent day on wheels. This is the story of the day I spent following ( on a bike) a very inspiring politician around the streets of Yarra city, which is part of Melbourne.  Jackie has been part of a push which has seen Yarra city climb to the highest rate of bike commuting of anywhere in Australia. Jackie Fristacky’s story might look like just another movie on YouTube. But actually it’s a very special tool for change, at least potentially.

And here’s a companion story, another busy professional who not only uses a bike on the job but, like Jackie, has interesting ideas about how bikes can make our lives better. This is Ian Charlton, The Doctor on a Bike. Seeing patients, Ian prefers to prescribe a bike than a pill.