Why Bother?

Cycling is an economic magic bullet for Auckland. Find Out Why.

Many Auckland cyclists will have heard of the story of Portland, Oregon. Up to the early / mid 90s, Portland was a typical large American city in terms of cycling. Meaning there wasn’t much of it. But then, a variety of positive things started happening – various bits of cycle infrastructure were built, which led to a wee bit more cycling, which led some more cycling infrastructure being built and to better public attitudes. Portland also sported an active advocacy scene, and authorities became increasingly willing to support cycling officially. Within something slightly more than a decade, Portland has now transformed itself to one of the Number 1 cycle cities of the world, with a cycle mode share of over 8%, and a vibrant – and very mainstream – cycle culture. It also did so on a shoestring (cycling) budget, showing that key investment into good cycle facilities can be dwarfed by highway budgets, yet still get significant results. One of the people that shepherded along this transformation was (is) Roger Geller, Portland’s Bicycle Coordinator – cycling’s official champion in Portland. And in two weeks, he will be here in New Zealand, travelling around the country and sharing his experience and advice, and in turn getting our feedback. As he is a great public speaker with a great story to tell, he will be highly in demand. Cycle Action has the honor of hosting Roger at one of our member’s homes, and while he will be rather busy during his two-day stay in Auckland (before continuing on to other areas of the country), we look forward to meeting him in person, and having him on at least a short ride. If you are also keen on hearing about how a city can turn itself around to become a real cycling mecca, the IPENZ Transportation Group is organising a public event at the Pioneer Women’s Hall (you may have been there before, we hold our big events there) off Freyburg Square. No RSVP required for CAA friends and members – but the venue is likely to be pretty packed (over a hundred people have already indicated interest for this event), so come early for a good seat, or you may have to stand!

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Auckland Kids With Learning Disabilities

The feeling of success of finally being able to learn is shared by many Māori children when Kura Kaupapa Māori was initiated. Suddenly they were ‘normal’ and school became a safe place where learning was meaningful and achievable.
We as parents and grandparents must keep insisting that funding be available so that all babies are able to reach their potential and not be handicapped by an outdated ethnocentric system.

I always found that parents took”delight” in how well their child was doing whilst pointing out the struggles of mine. Lucky we found a great tutor who specialises in Dyslexia and he attended weekly from reception to year 10 and in school holidays. Always told him to never be ashamed of his learning style. He has completed his apprenticeship and been working for seven years. Is he a brain surgeon. No but an active member of his community with great friends and supports along with all his medical issues and temperature and well on the way to purchasing his first home at 24. Believe in their strengths. Everyone has something to contribute.

ADDI in Taupo is offering the same kind of things. My son struggles with dysgrahia. This year he has started one day school at ADDI and we are already seeing the difference at home, he now chooses to write and draw, read books and join in with groups. He is learning that he is not stupid that he just works differently. All because the teachers believe in him as we do. Thank you to those teachers out there.

Types of Bikes Available

Transport bikes are ridden sitting in an upright position, which enhances your viability to other road users and also enables you to see what’s happening around you. They generally have mud guards, a chain guard, a back carrier rack and at least one basket or pannier for transporting stuff. They often have between 3 and 8 gears. These gears can be internal, which will keep your clothes clean. These types of bicycles can be ridden in normal street clothes and are also known as Dutch, utility, comfort or shopping bicycles.

Cruiser bikes generally don’t have any gears and have a fairly laid back riding position – ie. the pedals are positioned well forward from the saddle. They have balloon (fat) tyres and relatively wide handlebars. They are best suited to cruising along the waterfront on the flat as many of the features that make them ‘Cruisers’ make them unsuited for hills. They are generally ridden in street clothes.

These bikes are great for cruising (think weekend sports car) but fairly limited in Auckland where you will encounter a few hills. If you are only planning on owning one bicycle, you may want to look at a city bike with 3 or more gears.

Take Back The Streets

This is filmed in Los Angeles but hop on your bike (very) early in the morning or late on a week-night and the streets of Auckland are also virtually deserted. My midnight commute home is eerily silent and apart from the occasional boy-racer lobbing bottles or hamburgers at me I’ve got the place to myself. You begin to appreciate how much of our city is swallowed-up by roading.

I’m not anti-car, I’ve got two of them sitting in my garage, but too many resources are wasted trying to transport small light things (us) in big heavy things (cars). You build more roads to ease congestion and more people choose to travel by car, so pretty soon you are back where you started.

Auckland needs to get smarter.

Cycle Training

I doubt whether you will find many people who really can’t ride a bike.  Riding a bike is usually one of the first skills that young children are very keen to master and have strong recollections of.  So when I hear people say they can’t ride a bike they are usually referring to idea of riding a bike in traffic in an urban setting.  That’s why Cycle Action Waiheke have just finished running a cycle training course with support from Auckland City.  Training is carried out in accordance with the NZTA best practice and the UK’s renowned “Bikeability” training programme covering issues like:
Assertive or defensive riding skills.
Signaling and safe lane positioning.
Negotiating potential risks such as parked cars.
Advice on intersections and roundabouts.

Congratulations to the CAW team for making this event a success and we look forward to seeing those graduates out on the road enjoying their new freedom.