Pedal power pays off

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A Queenstown adventure tourism company is paying staff extra to bike to work. 

Employees at flying fox operator Ziptrek Ecotours get paid for the extra time – plus a bonus if they cycle up the steep Bob’s Peak track near the gondola.
 
Ziptrek boss Trent Yeo won’t quantify exactly how much he pays cycling staff “as it might change”.
 
“They get paid for the time it takes to get up. We allow them ample time and make sure they’re nice and fresh before they go on tour. 

“We encourage them to take their uniform separately – for obvious reasons.”
The Bob’s Peak ride is no mean feat.
 
It can take up to 45 minutes to get from downtown Queenstown to Ziptrek’s guest services tree about 450 metres above the resort. 

Yeo knows of only one of his troops – Peter Weir – who can do it without stopping.
 
“It’s seriously hard yakka,” Yeo says. “But it fits well with our company philosophy and it rewards our staff for choosing a healthy and environmentally sustainable way of getting to work.
 
“It feels good to know we’re doing our part to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions as well as contributing to better health.”
 
The extra-pay-for-pedalling initiative coincides with National Bikewise Month but could continue once February is over. 

Yeo says some staff already walked or biked up before the incentive.
 
“We thought we’d try and encourage that. It’s a bit of an experiment – we’ll see if it continues. 

“Obviously, when it comes to winter it’s a whole different situation. You’d have to have a pretty big incentive.” 

Ziptrek, an offshoot of a Canadian company, runs a series of whopper flying foxes combined with a nature walk from near the top of the gondola. 

It started operating in mid-December.