New cycling collaboration

Whanganui District Council and Arthritis New Zealand are collaborating to develop a three-year pilot project in Whanganui to encourage people with arthritis (particularly osteoarthritis) to start cycling, return to cycling or keep cycling.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition of the joints which can affect any joint, but most commonly occurs in the hands and weight-bearing joints (such as feet, ankles, knees, hips and spine).

Finding motivation to exercise can be difficult, especially if you’re aching all over. However exercise improves the condition and Arthritis New Zealand promotes cycling as a particularly good form of physical activity for those with arthritis of the hips, knees and feet.

Cycling improves the range of movement, strengthens the legs, and increases cardiovascular fitness and the flow-on effect is often prevention of worsening symptoms, a reduction in pain and improvements in everyday functioning and sleep.

Whanganui District Council is pleased to work with Arthritis New Zealand to develop this pilot project. The Council-led Let’s Go programme focuses on making walking, cycling and scootering a popular and safe travel choice for the people of Whanganui. Norman Gruebsch, Active Transport Facilitator at the Council, says, “The collaboration with Arthritis New Zealand is a first because it targets a local community group with specific health issues with the goal of raising their health and wellbeing, at the same time as achieving the active transportation outcomes that the Let’s Go programme promotes”.

Arthritis New Zealand Chief Executive Philip Kearney says “we want this to be a programme that will lead the country. Whanganui is the perfect place to run a pilot programme because there’s so much going on here in terms of cycling”.

Arthritis New Zealand aims to improve the life of every person affected by arthritis and is a national not-for-profit organisation focused on raising awareness, advocating for those with arthritis and providing advice and support. For more information, phone the helpline on 0800 663 463, look on Facebook or visit