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 Scoop.co.nz.

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 road.cc 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.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.