Feeling a bit left-out as a North Shore bike commuter? Reader Clare dropped the following info in the comments…
Smales Farm | Go-By-Bike-Day Picnic
Jump on your bike for Go-By-Bike-Day at Smales Farm on Wednesday 10 February for the annual Go-By-Bike-Day Picnic, 11am – 2pm.
Bring your bike to Smales Farm’s Food Truck Picnic for a free Bike Dr cycle tune-up or your helmet for a free coffee and to win spot prizes.
This was supposed to be all about our amazing new “pink path”, but ended-up as a kids-in-the-city cycling-infrastructure ramble…
Over the Christmas break I cycled around Central Auckland on several occasions, and if you haven’t done that recently, let me tell you, times have changed!
Not that long ago I would never have considered riding in the city with a nine year old at my side, but by sticking to cycleways (and the odd footpath) you can now loop around the entire CBD without coming near a car. Check-out the cycle-network map below and you’ll see what I mean.
Coming from the North Shore I was starting to feel a little neglected on these rides as there’s a LOT of money being spent on bike-infrastructure on that side of the bridge. I’ve spoken to the folks at Auckland Transport and the idea is to improve cycling-connections in a 5km radius of Downtown before tackling the suburbs. I hope they stick to that promise, because as you ride around the city you WILL become envious, that strip-of-paint down Lake Road is not cutting the mustard anymore!
Anyway, with 200 million being invested in cycling within the Auckland region (over the next three years), I’m sure we’ll see some improvements on our side of the bridge… Eventually.
Because the ferry is so expensive (and a long ride from home), on these jaunts I usually chuck the bikes in the back of my car, drive over the bridge and start cycling from Herne Bay or Point Erin (after nabbing a free park).
From there it’s a delightful ride into Downtown either under the harbour bridge and along (the fantastic) Westhaven Promenade, or stay on the western side of the motorway and ride the path behind that large perspex sound-barrier (accessed in a couple of places from behind the Point Erin Pools).
That will take you directly to Jacob’s Ladder Footbridge (where you can cross the motorway to Westhaven), or continue to Victoria Park.
You could start your ride at the top of the city on Upper Queen St, but I reckon when riding a loop it’s best to get the uphill part out of the way first. That way little legs end-up sailing downhill towards a waterfront ice-cream on the return leg. Phycology never to be underestimated when planning a family bike ride!
The Nelson Street Cycleway will eventually continue right down to the Viaduct, but for now it peters-out at the Nelson St/Victoria St West intersection. From there you ride up to Lightpath on a totally separated two-way cyclelane, a real grown-up one like you might see in Denmark or the Netherlands.
Nelson St was once a one-way, multi-lane, high-speed hellhole, funnelling tin-tops at breakneck speeds from Union St to the waterfront. It kind of still is, but cunning (brave?) transport engineers have taken a lane away from vehicular traffic and created a safe-haven for bikes. The cycle-lane is separated from the traffic with a concrete strip, but you still have to pay attention near the bottom as there are openings for vehicles to access businesses on the Northern side.
Most of you will feel totally comfortable riding up there with your kids, there’s even bike-specific “leaning-posts” and crossing-buttons at the intersections. Little-Johnnys with impulsive flight-reflexes are probably best left at home though, you are after all surrounded by many child-squashing opportunities in the city.
It’s a fairly gentle uphill cruise on this separated path and then as you hit Union St the Lightpath entrance comes into view, a stones’s throw from that massive pohutukawa sculpture by the Southern Motorway on-ramp.
Lightpath is a “statement”, and it’s a clever statement. Utilising a mothballed onramp, for 700m it encircles the back of the city, curving around Karangahape Rd to Canada St. With proper funding available the designers went to town and the whole project has a quality feel to it. Look beyond the retina-searing pink surface and you’ll notice the angled safety barriers, the glass screens, Māori motifs and funky lighting-towers.
The barrier posts themselves incorporate computer-controlled LED panels. Much like the Sky Tower, artists or lighting-designers can program these in any combination of colours they desire.
As you gain elevation towards Spaghetti Junction you end up looking down on lanes of car traffic, never a bad thing. There’s concrete and steel snaking in all directions, but because the glass barriers deflect the majority of noise it’s quite a tranquil ride.
Eventually the pink path transitions to a slightly narrower boardwalkie affair (the benefit of being a blogger means I can make-up words like boardwalkie) that hugs the commercial buildings as you wend your way around to Canada St.
The path proper ends here, but exits onto a wide share-with-care footpath that leads you to Upper Queen St.
I should save that last one for another post, as it’s really quite impressive. A bicycle-motorway that will carry you all the way down to Beach Rd, a stone’s throw from the waterfront.
These investments in bicycle-infrastructure sure make getting around the city easier, long may they continue!
1st-29th February, 2016
Register you and/or your workplace team for the Auckland Bike Challenge at www.lovetoride.net/auckland and compete for spot prizes during the entire month. This fun, online event is designed to encourage cycling, teamwork and good health.
I’ve participated in this type of challenge previously when it was aimed more at individual commuters. It was fun seeing my rides and kilometres adding-up, and even as a regular rider I was motivated to ride more than I normally would!
The third instalment of Bike Rave came and went on Saturday night and a good time was had by all. Like last time I had my nine year old in-tow, and although the crowd is predominantly twenty-somethings, Bike Rave is super family-friendly.
We didn’t feel out of place, in fact there were a bunch of kids riding, even one on a mini fat-bike, it was sooooo cute!
Speaking of cute, check-out the crew in the last photo. Waiting for the sun to set at the Mission Bay start, these little fellas ditched the nearby playground and buzzed around our lights like moths to a flame. My daughter and I ended up riding in circles on the grass as they ran behind shrieking with delight. That’s bike-advocacy at work right there!
Join Bike Auckland (formally Cycle Action Auckland) and friends to christen Auckland’s latest world-class cycleway next week. I believe the ribbon-cutting/speeches/fall-asleep-standing-up part is in the morning. This is simply a casual ride that evening with fellow cyclists as the sun sets and the multi-coloured lighting fires-up for the first time.
700m long, lit by LED wonder-lights, surfaced with pink fairy-dust and suspended high above Spaghetti Junction, this is one impressive ribbon of concrete & steel. It’s the type of fast, convenient, safe infrastructure Auckland needs to get people moving under their own steam.
What progress we’ve made, remember the fuss when the Takapuna to Devonport cycle lanes were put in? That was a mere strip of green paint (Leprechaun-Dust?) and the tin-top brigade thought the sky was falling-in.
The Nelson Street path utilises a mothballed section of motorway, but it didn’t come cheap, and yet we barely heard a peep? Times are changing and I like it!
When: Thursday 3rd December
- 7.30pm meet from at Mercury Lane Food Court
- 8.00pm Ride Departs
- Sunset @ 8.24pm, Lights On!
Are you looking to buy an inexpensive bike? Thinking about selling your old bike?
The bike market will have a range of new and used bikes for sale at affordable prices. There is no fee for selling. If you are interested in buying a bike there will be bike mechanics on site to make sure your new ride is roadworthy and to make small adjustments for you.
Sunday 22 November 2015, 9am – 2pm
YMCA stadium, Greys Ave, Auckland CBD
Details for buyers and sellers on Auckland Transport’s website.
Hmmm, I’ve got a few bikes gathering dust in the garage…
When: Saturday December 5
Where: Leaves Mission Bay at 8pm
Bike Rave 3.0 is coming folks and it promises to be bigger, better, warmer, louder & prouder!
I attended Bike Rave 1.0 with 150 others and it was a total blast, these guys were onto something.
Numbers ballooned past 400 at Bike Rave 2.0 and people really got into decorating their bikes (and themselves). There were some crazy light-shows weaving along the waterfront that cold winter’s night. I tracked-down some battery-powered Christmas lights ($2 Shop) for my daughter’s bike, she had the time of her life.
You might think a bike “rave” is for 20-somethings only, but that hasn’t proved the case. While the bulk of the crowd fitted that description there were plenty of older folks (like me!), and I didn’t feel out of place taking along an eight year old either.
So stock up on blinkies, glow-sticks and LED wonder-lights and put the evening of December 5 in your diary. It’s the most fun you’ll have on two wheels.
Keep up-to-date with Bike rave 3.0 via the FaceBook Event page.