At Bike Auckland, we campaign for a more bike-friendly city for all sorts of reasons – it’s fun; it’s a smart and cheap way to move more people on existing roads; it’s a wonderfully efficient way to address our climate change goals… and of course, going by bike is actively good for you. So of course we love the USO Bike Ride kaupapa; using bikes and bike rides to raise awareness of mental and physical health for Pasifika and Māori communities.
How USO Bike Ride began
USO Bike Ride originated in Porirua in 2011 it’s goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of it’s communities through cycling.
We spoke to Chris Te’o co-founder and part of the leadership team about the story behind USO. Chris told us about the heartbreak their family suffered when his father passed away from cancer in 2009, from diagnosis till his death it was only 3 weeks.
At the time of his father’s passing, Chris had only just taken up cycling to work but had already seen the great benefits it provided. Inspired by his local Cancer Society relay for life event Chris wanted to do more to help empower Pasifika and Māori people to do more for their health and wellbeing. So with the support of the Cancer Society and aiga , USO Bike Ride was born with the first ride from Māngere to Porirua.
Since 2011 Chris and the leadership team of Uso Bike Ride have been able to organise bike rides from Cape Reinga to Bluff and visa versa continuing to raise awareness of the importance of looking after your health and well-being.
Recently USO Bike Ride have helped set up bikes in schools programmes in Porirua and are currently in the process of establishing a bike library, these activities are supported by learn to ride training for whanau, adults and tamariki.
The USO Bike Ride kaupapa
Uso is a Samoan word that translated means brother. The word “uso” is gender specific and is only used amongst men or women to refer to each other, but not between men and women. They started out focusing on men’s mental health with men-only rides but have now expanded to included other genders in events.
USO is also an acronym for Understanding, Strengthening and Overcoming.
Polynesian Cycling Celebration Launch!
The team at USO Bike Ride have joined with Mr Tee from Tee Thrive in Māngere to bring together a group of 30 riders and 10 support crew to lead the Polynesian Cycling Celebration: a ride from Māngere to Porirua from 3 – 11 November.
Māngere Cycling champion Teau Aiturau (Mr Tee) of Time to Thrive acknowledges that the riding is very challenging “I want to set an example for me, my family and community that no matter what, I will always do my best – It’s about the kaupapa”. Teau, also known as “Mr Tee” is passionate about cycling and supporting communities to ride for health and wellbeing as well as being beneficial for the environment.
USO and Triple Teez will lead a 9 day cycle ride from Māngere to Porirua to Celebrate Polynesian Cycling. Along the way they will connect with communities, church groups and schools to showcase Polynesian cycling-the people who ride bikes, fix bikes and the growth of Maori and Pacific community cycling initiatives across Aotearoa.
Together they will showcase the contributions that Māori and Pasifika are making to the fabric of cycling, active transport, and health and wellbeing around Aotearoa.
Join them to launch this community cycling initiative:
WHAT: Polynesian Cycling Celebration
WHO: USO Bike Ride & Time to Thrive
WHEN: Thursday, 3 November. 2pm – 3pm.
WHERE: Māngere Town Centre
They would love to rally all Polynesian peoples who ride a bike – commuter, mountain bike, road bike – any bike, including those who fix bikes and support community cycling initiatives too.