On your bike! – Go by bike day 2017

A.E. Preece Cyclists' Exchange [ca. 1885]
Cyclist waits patiently for his muffin.
A.E. Preece Cyclists’ Exchange
[ca. 1885] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0039
Go by bike day is tomorrow. Surely a person doesn’t need more inducement to hit the road, powered by their own legs, enjoying a form of transport that’s good for their fitness and their wallet… but a free coffee and a muffin at the traditional Go By Bike Day Breakfast doesn’t hurt, does it?

This year the location of the breakfast is 597 Colombo St, on a Life in Vacant Spaces lot at the St Asaph St corner and all cyclists can enjoy the aforementioned free breakfast thanks to a range of cycle-friendly sponsors.

I’ve been to several of these events in the past and it’s always a good opportunity for a bit of sly perving of bikes (and associated accessories) as the concentration of other cyclists gives you a really good view of all the different kinds of cycles and cyclists that ride around in Christchurch.

In fact, the whole month of February is a good time to be out on a bike, and not just because the weather is generally pretty good. The Aotearoa Bike Challenge encourages you to get on a bike, even if it’s only for 10 minutes and to try and rack up some mileage. It’s super easy to register, then you log all your rides, can set yourself goals to achieve – “burn off a glass of wine” for instance – and compete against your co-workers.

I am registered and it is strangely addictive. Even relatively short trips of a kilometre or two really do add up if you’re riding every day. Also, there are prizes up for grabs. And if you’re new to the whole cycling thing, they’ve got really helpful tips about riding to work, bike maintenance and other relevant topics.

Learn more about cycling

In our catalogue

Cover of Urban cycling Cover of The official New Zealand road code for cyclists Cover of Everyday cycling in Aotearoa New Zealand Cover of Bicycling an introduction

On the web

  • Bikewise Information about bikes for kids and adults. Bike safety, choosing a bike, maintenance, and more.
  • Cycling in Christchurch News, information and events for Christchurch cyclists
  • Cycling (Christchurch City Council) Information on cycleways, bike parks and cycle safety.
  • Spark Bikes Bike Share A two year pilot to promote bike share as a part of the city’s transport mix.  Borrowable bikes availabe at 5 central city stations.
  • Bikes on buses Information on using Metro’s bus-mounted bike racks
  • RAD bikes (Recycle a Dunger) Bike need some work before it can hit the road? Help is at hand with parts, tools, and instruction on bicycle maintenance and repair.

The art of commuter cycling

Mr W. Schwiegerhausen, cyclist [1903]
Mr W. Schwiegerhausen, cyclist [1903] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0032
Tomorrow it’s the annual celebration of commuter cycling known as Go By Bike Day when Kiwis are encouraged to ditch the car or bus and get to where they’re going by the power of pedal alone.

I’ve been a commuter cyclist on and off since I got my first bike (a gold Raleigh 20) at the age of twelve and it is a terrific way to get around the city. Nowdays I often have a passenger as my 2 year-old enjoys the view from his child-seat up front, and the opportunity it affords him to wave at everything from ducks, to dog-walkers, to diggers.

It’s not without its downsides – impatient or inattentive motorists, bad weather, potholes, helmet hair, and lanes that aren’t quite wide enough because of roadworks – all hazards and impediments. But hey, what in life is perfect? Nothing. And there are plenty of reasons why going by bike is a good idea, not just on Wednesday, but every day.

  • Exercise – If, like me you’re a bit averse to exercise for its own sake, commuting by bike can really help you get moving and active. Commuter cycling has its own motivation built in, “Sure I can stop if I get tired…but I’ll be late for work/school so I’d better keep going”.
  • Cover of Everyday cycling in Aotearoa New ZealandMoney – It’s hard to argue against the money-saving aspect. No bus fare, parking fees, petrol costs, rego or insurance required. Once you have a bike, helmet, lights, lock and some reflective-wear you’ll spend almost nothing (unless you want to treat yourself to a cookie because you burned so many calories on your way to work).
  • Freedom of movement – Often people equate the motor vehicle with freedom to come and go as they please. In reality you’re much freer with a bike. You never have to circle the block looking for a park on a bike. If you see something interesting on your way somewhere there’s always a convenient spot to “pull over”. Depending on what kind of bike you have, you can pick it up and carry it places. Take it into a park. On a ferry. Put it on the front of a bus. You can stop, get off, and walk pretty much any time it takes your fancy. You just can’t do that with cars.
  • Panniers, baskets and trailers, oh my! – It’s never been easier to lug your stuff (and kids) around by bike as there are more options available for customising your ride than ever before. Not sure if a bike trailer is for you? Then try a trailer out for free.
  • Cover of The Bikie to work guideEnvironmentally friendly – With a bike you supply the fuel. Your legs (or arms – hand-cycles are a thing) propel you, not fossil fuels. You’ll never run out of petrol, (though it is possible to run out of puff).
  • Sense of achievement – I like knowing that I got from one place to another by the power of My Mighty Legs. Also, the first time I successfully repaired a puncture on my own was one of my proudest moments.
  • The cool factor – I have a very cool bike. Strangers often compliment me on it. I’d never be able to afford a car that makes people envious but a bike is a much easier (and affordable) proposition. People are also really impressed when you turn up somewhere on a bike, as if you’ve done something superhuman. In some corners it’s considered novel and somewhat daring to have travelled by bicycle. Take my advice and MILK THIS FOR ALL IT’S WORTH.

Or at the very least take advantage of the FREE BREAKFASTS happening around the city on Go By Bike Day at no less than five different locations. And if you’re interested, there are a raft of cycling-related activities happening in Christchurch in February.

Information for the cycling-curious

Cover of The enlightened cyclistIn our catalogue

On the web

  • Bikewise Information about bikes for kids and adults. Bike safety, choosing a bike, maintenance, and more.
  • Cycling in Christchurch News, information and events for Christchurch cyclists
  • Cycling (Christchurch City Council) Information on cycleways, bike parks and cycle safety.
  • Spark Bikes Bike Share A two year pilot to promote bike share as a part of the city’s transport mix.  Borrowable bikes availabe at 5 central city stations.
  • Bikes on buses Information on using Metro’s bus-mounted bike racks
  • RAD bikes (Recycle a Dunger) Bike need some work before it can hit the road? Help is at hand with parts, tools, and instruction on bicycle maintenance and repair.

 

All the ways to share a bike

Library staff cycling through Christchurch town centre, At the intersection of High, Manchester and Lichfield Streets. 1980s
Library staff cycling through Christchurch town centre, At the intersection of High, Manchester and Lichfield Streets. 1980s, Flickr: Arch-52-PH-07-21

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.

Spark Bikes

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!

Station locations, Spark Bikes

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 Bikes

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.

ICECycles

“Inner City East” Cycles runs bike maintenance workshops to help people get their rides ready for the road. They also accept donations of bicycles and bike parts.

Bikes for Madagascar

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.

For more on bikes and cycling

Nirvana on a bike – long distance cycling

Cover of CyclosportiveYou did know there was an around the world bicycle race on at the moment, didn’t you? No, I thought not, unless you happen to be one of those strange people who like long distance endurance events, and even  then you probably stick to multisport events that finish in approximately the same week as they started. However, cycling around the world – and doing it as a competition with others – must stand as unique in the slightly sweaty annals of willing self torture.

My dears, lets not get started on what the chafing must be like. Have I piqued your curiosity? You can read all about it and follow the riders on www.worldcyclerace.com, where the remaining riders struggle through deserts and across the tundra, pursued by bears, no doubt. And mosquitos the size of bears.

And the reward for all this effort? Well, there isn’t one, apart from an impressive rash, really big mosquito bites and some blisters in places you wouldn’t want to show your mother. There were 4 starters this year, as compared to 11 last year; 1 has already been disqualified for using a taxi, leaving the rest to battle it out between themselves. The disqualified entrant is still out there cycling, determined to finish the event anyway.

Fancy having a go yourself? Well, there must be worse ways to shake off your midlife crisis. Ok, maybe not. This race is an annual event, so the 2015 race still has vacancies, and you can start from Auckland if you like. Browse our books on cycling training and explore Kiwi Radonneurs – Long distance cycling in New Zealand.

Cover of Get on your bikeAppetite whetted? Well, that’s great, because if you can’t make it for the next around the world race, how about the upcoming TransAmerica event in June (you just have to cycle across North America for that one, but it’s a different event from the RAAM – Race Across America- which also entails cycling across the USA, and also in June, but using a different route). If you would like a bit of Euroculture with your chafing, there’s also the Transcontinental race across Europe, starting from London and ending in Istanbul in August. This one adds another level of challenge in that the cyclists have to be entirely unsupported, which means if they can’t carry it on the bike, it doesn’t go.

New Zealand isn’t entirely out of the loop with endurance cycle races – some time ago (2001) there was an end to end event, the Mizone Endurazone Bluff to Cape Reinga 2001 Challenge, chronicled by Christchurch’s own John Hellemans in his book The Misery of Staying Upright. Alas we don’t have such an event here any more, but there are opportunities for long distance rides at the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, which offers 320km, 640km and 1280km distances, should the ‘standard’ distance of 160km not be enough for you.

My dears, think of the chafing!

On yer bike! Christchurch loves cycles

Cover image for I love my bikeWith all this talk of folks wanting more cycleways and cycle lanes emerging as a theme on shareanidea, I figure it must mean that Christchurch folks love to get on bikes and ride.

My trusty steed is certainly reliable (a puncture or three notwithstanding given the current state of the roads), but perhaps not as elegant or funky as the bikes in I love my bike – although I think there’d be plenty of cool and stylish bikes throughout Canterbury to rival those featured in the book.

Here’s a selection of gorgeous new books on bikes :

So whatever your biking style, as a regular weekend biker, a commuter cyclist or an avid hill climber, be inspired by these books and don’t forget to post your thoughts of a cycle-friendlier city on shareanidea.