Charles Nicholas Oates (1853?-1938) and his motor-car .
“The passengers are Mr P Denton, Mr N. Oates and two of his children”. Mr Oates owned Zealandia Cycle Works, which later became Oates & Lowry & Co. He imported this car into New Zealand. It was a “small-type, fitted with solid tyres, and driven by the Benz system”, The Canterbury Times, 5 June 1901, p. 24-25 (see our newspaper holdings page for information on where to access this issue). This article also lists the seven motor vehicles in Canterbury in 1901. See also The veteran years of New Zealand motoring by Pam MacLean & Brian Joyce.
Do you have any photographs of historic transport in Christchurch and Canterbury? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.
Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.
A friend of mine has just started riding a bike around Christchurch. She is a very tentative cyclist but I’m so proud of her for getting on her new bike and giving it a go. So far her forays along bike paths have been positive ones and I hope she comes to love cycling as much as I do.
I thought this would be a great opportunity to share what I know about cycle commuting in Christchurch with her, but also with other wannabe cyclists who are thinking about trying to rack up some kilometres this month in the friendly competition that is the Aotearoa Bike Challenge. (Registering on the website is quick and easy and if you download one of the recommended apps to your phone it’ll record your cycle journeys automagically! Also there are prizes!)
Tips for newbie Christchurch cyclists
If you’ve never done it before, riding a bike can be a bit intimidating but the more you do it, and the more you learn, the more confident you’ll be. Here are some things it might help you to know:
Cyclists are friendly folk – We love encouraging new cyclists and there are numerous clubs and groups that would love nothing better than to encourage you towards freewheeling greatness. Try:
Frocks on bikes (for those that like to cycle in a leisurely fashion, usually in a frock. Frocks on bikes organises regular group rides, often around popular events)
Plan your route – If you’re nervous about busy roads and intersections plan your route so you can avoid them. And if you feel like a particular intersection or bit of road is dicey, there’s no shame in pulling over and being a pedestrian for a bit. I do it all the time!
Cycle lane etiquette – If you’re a slowpoke like me you’ll want to keep to the left of a cycle lane so it’s easier for faster cyclists to overtake you on the right. If you’re speedy calling out a cheery “coming up/overtaking on your right” as you approach is helpful for avoiding any collisions. A bell is a useful piece of kit for cyclists of all speeds as it’s great for getting the attention of pedestrians on shared pathways (or those who absentmindedly wander into a cycle lane). To me a bell always sounds more friendly than “OI!”.
Do wear a helmet – Because them’s the rules. And if you’re in an accident you’ll appreciate not being concussed (I speak from experience). And yes, it’s still the rules if you’re cycling on the footpath (but don’t cycle on the footpath unless it’s designated a shared pathway). Correct deployment of your helmet is firmly strapped on your head… not dangling off your handlebars.
Do wear whatever else you want though – There is no cycling uniform and I have successfully biked in everything from heels to jelly shoes (and even a veil once – it was Halloween). Short or floaty skirts can be problematic (especially when windy) but a snug pair of shorts underneath or the coin and a rubber band trick (or a peg) can successfully keep things “under wraps”.
Things to know about cycling infrastructure
There are a lot of cycling initiatives and changes to infrastructure happening in Christchurch and some of these can be a bit confusing or mysterious if you’ve never come across them before. Here’s what you need to know:
Sharrows – If you’ve seen road markings that incorporate a bicycle icon and a chevron shape then you’ve seen a “sharrow” (share arrow). These are used on slow or quiet streets and indicate that cyclists should bike towards the middle of the road. But do move across to the left if a motorist wants to come through.
How to make lights go – You may notice at or on the approach to an intersection a section of road that looks like the surface has been sliced into, often in the form of a box or rectangle. Underneath the road surface is a sensor that can detect bicycles and in some instances this may be the only way to trigger the lights. If you feel like you’ve been waiting an age for the lights to change, look down or around you. You may be a little too far ahead, behind or to the side to be registering as a cyclist.
Extra lights just for you – In the central city there are now some intersections that operate on a different system to work in with the new separated cycle lanes. Instead of following what the main traffic lights indicate, you’ll need to pay attention to the special lights just for cyclists (you’ll know they’re for you because they’ll have a bike symbol). Keep your eyes out for these at spots like the Tuam/Colombo intersection, and by the bus exit of the Bus Interchange.
Hook turn boxes – A hook turn is a handy option at really busy intersections where making a right hand turn in heavy traffic might not be the safest option. If you see a painted box featuring a hooked arrow and a bicycle icon at an intersection this is a good place for cyclists to perform a “hook turn” (although hook turns are allowed at most intersections). A hook turn is when you take a two step approach to a right turn. Staying to the left, a cyclist can go with traffic through a green light then stop in the hook turn box, and then go with traffic through a second green light (or even ahead of it if the road is clear), effectively making a right hand turn in two stages. The NZTA has official instructions on performing hook turns (with pictures) that explain this really well.
This exhibition will show photographs and tell stories of the Lost Cave Baches, located between the east end of Taylors Mistake and Boulder Bay. A booklet will be available with photographs and stories.
In celebration of the opening of the Lyttelton Rail Tunnel 150 years ago, members of the public are invited to share their stories, memories and images of travelling on the Lyttelton to Christchurch passenger train. These memories will be collected and recorded in the Lyttelton Library by volunteers for the Lyttelton Museum. There will be an accompanying display of images and information about the Lyttelton Rail Tunnel at the Lyttelton Library.
Come and see a heritage display reflecting Christchurch’s past in the Classics Building at The Arts Centre. Library staff will be on hand to answer your questions about our heritage images collection and our Christchurch Photo Hunt competition.
All aboard for a special storytimes adventure incorporating stories, songs and rhymes with a Cantabrian flavour (and plenty to please train fans too). Set inside a magical star tunnel, these sessions will run every half hour from 10am to 3pm in the Classics Building at The Arts Centre. Suitable for children aged 3-7 years. Bookings will be taken on the day.
An exhibition for those who love freewheeling. Here you’ll see a fascinating display illustrating Christchurch’s colourful cycling history. It will include heritage bikes on display, as well as images and historical research pulled from Christchurch City Libraries collections.
A history of Governors Bay, Ōhinetahi, Allandale and Teddington, this immensely readable, impeccably researched and superbly illustrated book tells the stories of the families who settled at the head of the harbour, of the homes they built, of their relationship with the land and sea, their working and recreational lives. It traces the influence of well-known residents such as Thomas Potts, Hugh Heber Cholmondeley and Margaret Mahy. Author Jane Robertson has interviewed many residents and ex-residents, whose experiences and photographs enrich a book that is not just for those with connections to this special place, but for anyone interested in the history of Canterbury and of New Zealand.
An introductory session on how to use Ancestry Library Edition, which is free within the library. Come and get some tips to help you discover your family’s history.
You will gain an overview of the wide variety of vital records from New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, Europe and the United States from this eResource. Free, no booking required.
Christchurch and cycling have always gone well together. That winning combination of flat terrain and wide roads makes the Garden City a great place to cycle. With new cycleways rolling out around the city, it’s becoming more and more bike friendly.
Assuming that you have a bike, that is.
Luckily there are options for people who don’t have their own wheels to pootle about on.
Similar to the “Boris Bikes” of London, Spark Bikes offer those in Central Christchurch the opportunity to travel further than their feet can take them, but without the hassles of parking.
The bikes, which come complete with a lock and adjustable helmet, are available at 5 stations around the central city and can be used for 30 minutes, free of charge. Additional time is charged at $4 per hour, or a bike can be borrowed for a full day for $20.
Kind of like a library but with bikes instead of books!
There is an initial $4 charge to register and “borrowing” is managed either via an app or the mobile website, so it’s also quite smartphone dependent. The project is currently in pilot so may extend to more bikes and more stations in the future.
RAD stands for “Recycle A Dunger” and is a not-for-profit initiative that takes donated, unwanted bikes and parts and helps turn them into rideable bikes.
From their shed headquarters (shedquarters?) at 70 Kilmore Street, RAD Bikes provides all the tools, equipment, parts and expertise to help get your bike roadworthy. They also gift recycled bikes to charity organisations.
If you’re in the envious position of having too many bicycles then maybe you’d be interested in exercising a little bicycle altruism?
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world and access to education and healthcare is a real issue for people who live in remote areas.
a large number of people living in rural communities could not afford to get to a health facility when they needed it. They were totally reliant on volunteer community health workers (CHWs) to travel to them. Most of these CHWs have to walk to visit sick patients. But, if you give them a bike then suddenly they can cover three times the distance!
The plan is to collect 400 adult size mountain bikes and ship them to Northern Madagascar. The collection day is on Saturday 15 August: Bikes need to be dropped off at SB Global Logistics, 11 Syd Bradley Road, Dakota Business Park (next to the Christchurch Airport). If you can’t make it on the collection day: You can drop your bike at an alternative location by Friday 14 August at Limitless Supplements, 22 Stanley St, Sydenham.
If there are surplus bikes these will be donated to ICECycles for local use.