Some people may know of Steven Muir, a passionate cycle advocate in Christchurch and winner of CAN's 'Cycling Champion of the Year' award in 2012. Several years ago he ran an annual 'Supermarket Challenge' which challanged cyclists and car drivers to pick up various items from supermarkets around town in the shortest time. He was also involved in workshops helping people create their own cycle trailers and still continues to sell trailer kits. Instructions on building a range of different trailers yourself can be found on his website (http://www.cycletrailers.co.nz/html/instructions.html). He's also been involved in Icecycles which amongst other things has fixed up and given out around 200 bikes to those in need of one.
When I lived in Christchurch Steven and I cycled a lot together but it's been many years since we caught up. This weekend however Steven came to visit on his way to the Abel Tasman and with only one afternoon to introduce him to mountain biking in Nelson I suggested that we rode the Coppermine.
It was a stunning day and The Coppermine did not disappoint despite my lack of fitness and the track being the roughest I've seen it for a long time (presumably due to the race a couple of weeks ago) as well as the obligatory puncture. This ride is certainly a challenge and it would be a mistake to underestimate it and attempt it without being prepared in terms of clothing (the weather can change quite dramatically) as well as equipment and water. The sight of two children that couldn't have been more than 10 years old on their small mountain bikes as we approached the saddle was however testament to the fact that this ride is quite accessible and is within the reach of anybody with moderate fitness and confidence in cycling over rocky terrain.
If you just had one afternoon to showcase Nelson to a cyclists from out of town, where would you take them ?
We had a really impressive turnout at the BNB film night last night including several councilors and council staff. It is very encouraging to get this level of support.
Thanks to everybody that came along. Thanks in particular to Julie Anne Genter for her talk and to Rhys Palmer for giving the councils perspective and helping to answer a number of really good questions after the film. As Julie Anne pointed out, while the money available to spend on cycling infrastructure is a drop in the ocean compared to what is being spent on maintaining roads and building new ones it is good to hear that our council is focusing on walking and cycling where possible and that by national standards we're doing well.
We will almost certainly do this again so watch this space ! If you want to be added to our mailing list and be notified of the next film night as well as other events that are coming up please contact us and/or follow our Facebook page.
Thanks very much to The Boathouse for allowing us to host the event there, in particular thanks to Ali helping us to promote the event, set everything up as well as serving at the bar. Thanks also to Cycological for the generous donation of a cycle helmet for the photo competition (the winner will be posted shortly).
I read with interest the Ask the Mayor article from the 13th Feb. Rachel Reese had a very reasonable list of reasons for needing to use her car most days.
I too had the same list of reasons why I can’t bike to work. I too have multiple places each day that I need to be, potentially 2 different hospital sites plus 2 clinics. I also have to look professional at work and don’t have time to shower after each trip. I have to carry heavy gear at times.
I am on call 1- 2 times a week and need to be able to get to the emergency department within 15-20 mins for the entire 24 hours in case of major incident or trauma, a very clear and reasonable rationale for using my car on those days.
I used all of these reasons, mostly valid, to explain the times I could not bike and simply extrapolated this reasonable argument out to say if I can’t bike sometimes, I can’t bike period.
However I am married to one of the most zealous bike enthusiasts in town and about 18months ago I became a reluctant biker.
I bought an electric bike and use it at least half the week, sometimes more. It allows me to bike to work and only develop a gentle feminine glow, rather than a serious sweat. I don’t need to have another shower at work and trust me I bike wearing just about anything, simply putting bike shorts on beneath my dress. I don’t need extra time. I can get almost anywhere n Nelson in 10 mins flat. With a 20 kilo bike, even with the motor, I am still definitely exercising and improving my fitness , plus I have zero emissions. I charge my bike at most every 2 weeks overnight for a cost of less than 1 dollar.
I don’t have the hassle of parking, there is a bike cage at the hospital that unlike the carpark is never full ( although gratifyingly getting fuller all the time). I have some funky panniers and can do a supermarket shop on the way home with no concern. At the weekends I only use my car when I need to; big shops, ferrying multiple kids, dogs to the beach etc.
Now I can’t bike every day, there are days when I have expensive and delicate equipment to carry that I just can’t risk. I think the key here is that no-one has to pick. It’s not all or nothing, part time biking is just fine. Even one day biking per week makes a huge difference when you add it up.
The biggest obstacle is our mental perception that you are either a car or bike person. I’m clearly both..but I’m pleased to say I’m slowly seeing the light and have to say that the sense of freedom, especially at the end of the long day is quite exhilarating.
If I can do it… surely you can try too.
"Girls in cycling friendly countries continue to cycle into adulthood, whilst in many other countries they tend to give up during the teenage years. Why? "
The film "Beauty and the Bike" follows two groups of young women, one from Darlington in England where nearly all teenagers have stopped cycling. Another is from Bremen where most teenagers use a bike. The film explores why the attitudes of the two groups towards cycling is so different.
We hope the film and discussion will be the first step in creating a cultural shift in attitudes towards cycling for teenagers in Nelson.
After the film, guest speaker Julie Anne Genter, a transport planner and transport spokesperson for the Green Party will give a short talk on the issues covered in the film followed by general discussions on the topic.
The bar will be open from 6:30pm until 7:30pm so feel free to come early for a drink and a chat.
For more information about the film "Beauty and the Bike" can be found on the website http://www.bikebeauty.org/New_2011_Edition_BATB/Home.html
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