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New Zealand council promotes cafe loyalty scheme to encourage cycling

Initiative aimed at decreasing petrol consumption by encouraging people to switch to caffeine instead

A district council in New Zealand is encouraging people to switch from cars to bicycles for their daily transport needs by introducing an ‘alternative fuel card’ that rewards them for topping up with caffeine instead of petrol.

The iCafe card has been introduced by Hastings District Council under its iWay initiative to promote cycling and walking in the North Island city which, together with neighbouring Napier, is home to some 125,000 people.

Five local cafes are participating in the project, under which cyclists receive their fifth coffee free, reports the website

Owen Mata, iWay coordinator, commented: “We know that lots of casual cyclists are also keen coffee drinkers, and we’re seeing an increasing number of cyclists at cafes, especially on sunny days. So we thought we’d help them refuel during the trip with a loyalty card. We hope it will also encourage them to leave the car at home more often.”

He continued: “Cycling is a great way to work off that extra piece of cake you had with your coffee, so you don’t need to feel guilty either” Mr Mata added.

We’re big fans here at of post- (or even mid-) ride coffee stops, and it would be good to see councils in the UK follow the example of their colleagues in New Zealand – and if the loyalty scheme could be extended to include that piece of cake, too, we certainly wouldn’t complain.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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richmond | 12 years ago

Such a great idea - and it's great the reward comes quickly too. I wish it success.

Celeste08 | 12 years ago

Great idea! I like the add-on sale of guilt free cake.

handlebarcam | 12 years ago

A great idea. How long before the NZ equivalent of the HMRC ruins it?

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