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Get on your bike to improve community wellness

Based in Ōtautahi Christchurch, an innovative community venture has helped more than 17,000 people to recycle and learn how to fix bikes for themselves and others.

“Improving community wellbeing is one of RAD Bikes’ core kaupapa (purposes),” says Jess Smale, RAD General Coordinator.

Through its community-focused services, RAD Bikes is helping people get involved in cycling across the city and Aotearoa New Zealand.

“We’ve had over 100 volunteers of diverse experience and skills, we teach mechanical skills and run various charity fix ups, as well as special events, to get more people into riding,” says Jess. 

“Some of the benefits for people who use RAD is that they can find a way to get to work, get fit, develop new skills, and meet new people. Our RAD humans are of all skills, ages and personalities.” 

“It’s a very tangible way to help the environment and to help others.”

Pop-up events across Ōtautahi are part of its popular event schedule, which also includes activities for specific groups and needs, such as the Women's and Youth Workshops, as well as our Afterschools and Bike Bridge Programmes for children and migrant women.

The organisation even hosts no-emissions entertainment with RAD Bikes’ cycle-powered cinema nights.

“We love how much aroha and momentum is brought to our whānau,” says Jess.

Rātā Chief Executive, Leighton Evans, says that RAD Bikes contributes to the overall wellbeing of many people, providing a safe environment to help many improve their cycling confidence and connect with others regardless of age and abilities.

“Rātā Foundation directly supports Jess to continue in her vital coordination role, nurturing and supporting the team of diverse volunteers that reflect the makeup of the community RAD Bikes serve,” says Leighton.

“As well as helping people maintain and safely use bikes for health and fitness by repairing and recycling, RAD Bikes’ also aim to minimise waste going to the landfill through the collection of unwanted bicycles.

“Such is the local demand for their services, RAD has moved into a second premise and, with the initial help of Rātā and their ability to attract other funding streams, they are well on their way to be fully self-sustaining in five years.”

There’s never been a better time to dig out your bicycle from the back of the garage and give it a new lease of life while learning new skills, getting fit and helping the environment. 

Time to get on your bike!