Here's Our Most Frequently Asked Questions..
Q1. How old do you have to be to ride over the Auckland Harbour Bridge? Why the age limit?
A – It’s in our conditions of use for the Auckland Harbour Bridge that you must be Intermediate School age or over to ride on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Children 10 years old or under are unable to cross in any way, shape or form in this event. To be clear this means children 10 or under on event day cannot pedal their own bike OR be a passenger (bike seat/towed) on another bike. This is a live motorway and safety is our number one priority. This limit for the Bike The Bridge events is imposed because when you ride over the Auckland Harbour Bridge you are doing so on a motorway which will still have vehicles alongside your cycle lane. We appreciate that children mature at different rates, and that your child may be a very skilled rider, but a line has to be drawn somewhere in our event permit. Our experience over the years of organising this event and many others suggests 11 years and over is appropriate in this setting where safe cycling and self-awareness are paramount.
Q2. What if my child is 10 years or younger on event day? What ride can they enter?
A - We have a family event for our younger riders that utilises closed off sections of the Northern Busway called Bike The Busway. This has been a really popular addition to Bike the Bridge as it gives our youngsters the opportunity to ride in their own special event, on a piece of road that that cannot normally do and with a heap of other youngsters their age
Q3. How steep is the Auckland Harbour Bridge? Will I make it???!!!
A - Its not as steep as most people think! The Auckland Harbour Bridge holds an average grade of about 5% and is a fairly steady and comfortable climb. The bridge is comparable to the Nelson St section of the city cycleway (in the CBD) although Nelson St hits 7% in a few spots. And hey, the climb up to Constellation Station on the Northern Busway is actually a steeper climb than the Harbour Bridge. Bottom line - the bridge is very do-able and shouldn't be viewed as a scary proposition if you've practiced on some of the many hills Auckland has to offer.
Q4. What bikes can participate in Bike The Bridge events?
A – The event is called Bike The Bridge for a reason. Our event permit allows for all pedal powered bikes driven by legs and feet on pedals, including E.Bikes, MTB, road, commuter, hybrid, unicycles, tandems, cruisers and more. Whilst we appreciate there are many other forms of transport that are available, under our permit transport options like skateboards, scooters, mopeds, mobility scooters, wheelchairs etc. are not permitted. All bikes must be fit for the roadway and we reserve the right to prohibit and remove bikes if we deem them unsafe, unsuitable or outside the spirit of the permit issued. If you are unsure if what you are intending to ride on event day will be able to pass through the start line gates please check with us here now to avoid disappointment. Pre event, we encourage all entrants to obtain a bike check – these are available at almost all cycle retailers throughout the city. Remember - Helmets are also compulsory!
Q5. Why isn’t this awesome event a free event for the people of Auckland?
A – That would be awesome but the event has significant costs that we as organisers have to pay. Traffic management in itself is incredibly expensive - especially so when you are closing down part of New Zealand’s number one piece of roadway. Add in, the numerous other operational expenses incurred in producing a large scale event in this city and there absolutely needs to be a fee to help cover some of these costs. The ethos of Bike The Bridge has always been getting more people on bikes more often. With our family packages and greatly reduced prices for children we believe our event represents great value for money and is certainly good value compared to the other events that use the same / similar icons.
Q6. How do MS Auckland and Bike Auckland benefit from this event?
A – The profile MS Auckland has received through this event is immeasurable and is something MS Auckland cherishes. Over the past 6 years, MS have raised approx. $200k through this event and continue to run various fund raising activities in association with the event. Bike Auckland is a new partner to the event this year and the event will enable Bike Auckland to share their message and invite support from the cyclists of Auckland for a more bikeable city. Bike the Bridge proudly supports Givealittle fundraising pages for both charities and all entrants have the opportunity to directly donate to both charities through our online registration system.
Q7. Why is the event staged so early in the morning? Oh and what happened to the usual November event date?
A - NZTA have been fantastic in making this very special piece of roadway available for cyclists once a year, but there is great demand all day / every day for vehicular use on this roadway. Whilst we have the ability to use the Bridge, the permit has strict criteria on the time we must return the bridge to its full operation - meaning that we must start early in order to comply. This year we have switched to February (from November as we have traditionally done), in order to provide more opportunities for Aucklanders to give it a crack in more settled warmer weather and at a time of year when people were more likely to be on their bikes. Our February start time is 50-60 minutes later than our previous November start time so that’s another bonus of switching to February! We have had fantastic support from all of our partners in making this change – particularly with NZTA, Auckland Transport and Bike Auckland.
Q8. Why do you restrict numbers on the Bike The Bridge events? When do I need to enter to guarantee a place?
A - We have a very tight window of time in which we can safely move thousands of cyclists over the bridge and then back again prior to returning the Auckland Harbour Bridge to vehicular traffic by 10.00am. An entrant limit is therefore required in order to comply with these time restrictions. To ensure you get your opportunity, enter early – the latest two versions (2015 and 2016) of The Bike The Bridge event options sold out. Entries in the Bike The Busway (the event for Under 10year olds) were open right up until event day last year so there is less pressure on these.
Q9. What happened to the longer rides? 22km is quite a short distance...
A – Bike The Bridge is designed first and foremost to get more people on bikes, more often. Whilst we enjoyed delivering the longer rides in its early days, the demand from the public was not there, coupled with the huge costs involved in providing traffic management throughout the North Shore roads. On the other hand the nature of this current format has been extremely popular - a format that fits the ethos of the event perfectly.
Q10. When do I need to arrive to my chosen start area venue on event day?
A – We recommend arriving 30 minutes prior to your scheduled start time. Once the respective events are underway and all entrants have passed through the helmet check/bike check start gates, the start line is closed. Late arrivals will not be permitted through the start gates. No exceptions. No refunds are issued if you arrive to find the start line gates are closed so please plan to arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Q11. If I enter the Bike The Bridge 22km option (starting from Smales Farm at 6.50am and finishing back at Smales Farm) is it a continuous 22km ride?
A – No. The full 22km is split in two sections as the event is only permitted to have cyclists travelling in one direction on the Auckland Harbour Bridge at a time. When you complete the first 7km section (heading south from Smales Farm to Harbour Park) you gather by the water at Westhaven and have the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere while the last entrants come off the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The very minute the last entrants have made it off the Auckland Harbour Bridge (or the time reaches 8.00am) all entrants then head back North over the Auckland Harbour Bridge on a 15km course before finishing at Smales Farm.