BikeNZ is peddling closer towards growing cycling as a sport, recreational activity and means of transport in New Zealand with its new sponsor, online savings and investment banking service, RaboPlus.
RaboPlus.co.nz, part of the Rabobank Group, is supporting the expansion of cycling in New Zealand, including part-funding the development of Bike NZ's recreational membership programme which is planned to be launched in November this year.
The money will be used over three years to market the membership programme which it is anticipated will provide benefits for recreational cyclists who sign up, including special deals on biking equipment and discounted rates for competitions and events.
"With increasing car use and trends away from physical activity, the development of our recreational membership programme will be another step towards BikeNZ's vision of a nation embracing cycling," says BikeNZ chief executive Rodger Thompson.
There are over 70,000 cyclists in New Zealand - but not all of them are competitive - many are recreational, riding in regional recreational events such as the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge and Graperide. Bike NZ's recreational membership programme will be designed for these riders.
"RaboPlus' support will help us spread the message to encourage more New Zealanders to take up cycling as a fun and recreational sport. It will also help us advocate for the rights and safety of cyclists," Mr Thompson says.
RaboPlus General Manager, Mike Heath, is also excited to be involved with BikeNZ and says the reason for sponsorship is twofold.
"Our sponsorship reflects Rabobank's long association with cycling via our Dutch heritage, where Rabobank sponsors cycling at both a recreational and competitive level."
Mr Heath said there were plans in development for RaboPlus to team up with BikeNZ for a Tour de France promotion and competition.
"We're pleased to be supporting a growing sport that promotes health and fitness amongst New Zealanders. Health and physical activity is an important issue in New Zealand and we're thrilled to have this opportunity to be involved," Mr Heath says.
BikeNZ is New Zealand's national umbrella organisation for cycling and provides professional services to six national bike and cycling organisations. The organisation is also responsible for coaching, high performance programmes and junior development, and advocates for cyclists on issues such as making cycling safer on the roads and ensuring the sustainable development of day-to-day, commuter cycling.
Cyclists who would like to register for information and updates regarding BikeNZ's recreational membership programme prior to its launch in November can do so via the BikeNZ website at www.bikenz.org.nz