Greasy Chain Charitable Trust

Helping all New Zealanders become fitter through cycling

Greasy Chain Charitable Trust

Helping all New Zealanders become fitter through cycling

Cycling To Commute

Commuting – are you up for the Wednesday Challenge?

Despite the obvious reasons to ride your bike to work, there never seems to be a good time to start. So how about starting right now? Even if you commute only a handful of times, it’s better than none.

And to give you that little extra bit of motivation, how about getting together with a few workmates and riding to work every Wednesday?

The Greasy Chain Charitable Trust is promoting a new initiative, the Wednesday Challenge. Piloted in Tauranga in 2022, the Wednesday Challenge is now moving into towns and cities across New Zealand. The challenge is to have as many people as possible ride or walk to work/school on a Wednesday each week, thus getting people starting a habit of being more active – in our case cycling. You’re encouraged to log your rides (or walks) on an app to keep a track of progress. It’s been found that the best results come when people take the challenge in groups, such as from one firm, business or even school, so how about your group or organisation starting the Wednesday Challenge?

You can see more details of the Wednesday Challenge here: .

On a practical note if you’ve not commuted by cycle before, here to help you get rolling, are 13 tips to get started.


Begin with an achievable distance

If you live only a few kilometres from work, it is conceivable that you can commute both ways on the first day. If you live several kilometres away and the commute will take you 45 to 60 minutes or more, consider hitching a ride with a co-worker to get to the office, then ride home. Make the distance doable for you; not about what other people might be doing.


Start with an achievable frequency

Sure, it sounds good that you’re turning over a new leaf, and you have grand plans to commute to and from work every day. But is that goal achievable immediately? Begin by setting a goal to commute one day per week, e.g., every Wednesday. After you can consistently achieve success, add more commuting segments or days.


Wear a helmet – they are compulsory on the roads in New Zealand

In the unlikely case of an accident, you want to protect your head and all those great ideas of yours. If you’re worried about how your locks might look after a ride to the office, bring a brush or comb to address the situation once you arrive.


Wear clothing that can easily be seen by motorists

If you are commuting in the early morning or late evening hours, wear reflective gear and put a flashing taillight on your bike. For daylight commuting, wear bright colours that can easily be seen by motorists (black might look good at work, but motorists find it hard to see).


It’s not necessary to wear special clothes and gear

Depending on the distance of your commute, you might be able to commute in your work clothes. Some commutes feel more like workouts while others are more casual in nature.


Consider cycling shorts

If your commute is longer than 20 or 30 minutes, you will probably be more comfortable in cycling shorts. Cycling shorts eliminate that intersection of seams that meet right where you are positioned on the bike seat. Pressure and friction can make this area really uncomfortable when cycling longer distances. Cycling shorts (worn without underwear) can significantly improve your comfort.


Do a dry run on the weekend

If you’re nervous about how much time it will take you to get to work, do a dry run on the weekend. Ride at an easy pace, knowing that if you were in a bind for time, you could pick up the pace


Find routes with minimal traffic

It may lengthen your commute some, but finding roads that aren’t as busy might be worth your time. Check out any bike paths in the area to see if they would be a good choice.


Learn how to change a flat tyre

If you you’re not already proficient, learn how to change a flat tyre.


Carry a cell phone and call for help if you have significant mechanical trouble

If you have time to change a flat tyre or deal with other mechanical issues on the way into work, fine. If you’re pinched for time, call someone to give you a lift. There’s a good chance you’re on the road well before anyone else, so it’s likely a co-worker will come your way.


Take your clothes to work the day before you commute

If you plan to change from cycling clothes to work clothes when you commute, bring your clothes to work the day before your ride.


Strategize your clean up time before work

Some commuters will want a full shower before sitting next to co-workers. Or maybe it’s the co-workers that want the commuter to have a shower? Either way, lucky commuters can shower at the office. If that’s the case, use a chamois towel (popular among swimmers) to dry off rather than having to lug around a full-sized bath towel.


Watch for parked car doors swinging open

Be alert for cars parked on the side of the road. Take note if there are people in the car that might be getting ready to swing open the car door. They might not be looking for you coming from behind on a bike.

Finally …

After you scheme up strategies to be successful on that first commute, you might find yourself wanting more. Even hard-core commuters started somewhere. Regular commuters regularly comment on how good it makes them feel.

And remember, the easiest way to get motivated is to agree with someone else to do it together – try the Wednesday Challenge.