Bike to the Future awards review

Bike to the Future awards review

To: CAN Board
From: Patrick Morgan
25 September 2018

With the 2018 awards behind us, it's timely to consider timing and branding of the Bike to the Future Awards.


The Bike to the Future Awards have been jointly run by CAN and NZTA, since 2016. They are “an opportunity to acknowledge the dedication and contribution to cycling from cycling champions across the country, as well as New Zealand’s best cycling projects.”

They were preceded by the CAN Cycle Friendly Awards, which were started by CAN in 2003. CAN contracted event management to a CAN member, who sought sponsors and ran the event. I don't think we covered costs.

The Awards event is generally held at the national walking and cycling conference. In 2017 they were held at the APCC conference in Christchurch, and in 2018 in Palmerston North. NZTA does most of the work and pays all the bills. As a result, the Bike to the Future Awards profile is significantly higher than the Cycle Friendly Awards.


With no national conference in 2019, it's worth asking if there should be awards in 2019, or should we wait for 2020. NZTA (Renée Sara and Claire Pascoe) has asked for CAN's thoughts on this.

Why 2019?
Keeps momentum up among those working on cycling.
A focus for NZTA and councils.
Provides a transport minister with the opportunity to shine.
Council elections are in 2019. It's an opportunity to highlight progress.
If we skip a year, the Awards may fall out of NZTA budgets, and be harder to re-establish in 2020.

Why skip 2019?
No conference to tie them to. We would need to run them as a standalone event, or tie them to something else, such as NZ Bike Expo. It may be harder to get finalists and winners to attend.
If NZTA doesn't want to fund the awards, CAN may not be able to run them at the same high level. CAN would need to find resources to run the Awards.


We decided to change to the “Bike to the Future” brand in 2016 when NZTA came on board. It has more zing than Cycle Friendly Awards.

Why rebrand?

Now that NZTA are broadening their approach to cycling, walking and multimodal transport, we could rebrand to align with their approach.
This could draw in other sponsors such as ACC.
We could invite Living Streets to participate. They currently hold Golden Foot Awards in even years (2018, 2020 etc).
Perhaps the “Healthy Streets Awards”, as discussed at the Palmerston North conference.

Why stick with Bike to the Future?

If it ain't broke, why fix it?
Biking is a strong brand.

Keep the cycling focus, but consider different categories to highlight “cycling as part of a multi-modal journey”, “safety heroes”, and “local bodies leading the way”. This will keep it fresh and relevant to NZTA’s current work programme, and to where the stories are.

I consulted with Jo Mackay, Jane Dawson and Andy Smith in preparing this paper.



1. Timing: Confirm with NZTA that CAN would like to jointly run the awards in 2019.

2. Branding: Stick with Bike to the Future. Review award categories to include healthy streets thinking.


Our contact at NZTA is Renée Sara, Practice Manager, Engagement and Communications Practice Area 4 (change projects), Governance, Stakeholders and Communications DDI 04 903 2314