Bike the Night – Matariki 2
Had so much fun last Friday night riding with Teau Aiturau and the Triple Teez crew (Time to strive to Stay Alive). The weather was mint, there were lots of kids, lots of friendly faces, lots of unicycles, lots of flashing coloured lights, even a mid-ride fireworks display! Throw those ingredients together on a bike ride under the stars and you can’t lose really.
It was great to meet Teau face-to-face after hearing him talk at the recent Pecha Kucha night. Hard working “people” people like Teau bring so much to their communities. Thanks to our sponsor Evolution Cycles I had a pretty flash mini-pump to give away at the post-ride sausage sizzle. I tried passing it to Teau to pick a winner, but he made me stand up and choose someone myself! Choking down the remains of a half-eaten sausage I awarded it to the youngest rider. She was a gutsy eight year old who rode the whole loop on a squeaky singlespeed keeping up with the bigger kids. Easy decision really.
If you get the opportunity to attend one of these community night-rides I highly recommend them. With the twinkling lights and banter between riders there’s always a cool vibe. You feel safe in a big group, and the general public get involved too with lots of encouragement from pedestrians and passing traffic. Bring on the next one…
p.s. I rode alongside a young chap from Highbury who commutes daily by bike and ferry to Glendowie! Then after work (on this Friday) he pedals to Mangere to join in the fun before riding all the way home. Respect to that man!!!
I tell ya, Auckland bike culture is growing. It seems every week there’s something happening on two wheels, even over winter.
Next month Frocks on Bikes are hosting a fun event for the ladies on beautiful Waiheke. Frockers are soooooo friendly, you’ll fit in just fine!
Welcome to our bike wine tour – on Waiheke! With an abundance of crisp clear days, there is no better time to wrap up, get on your bike, and get warmed to the cockles of your heart between bouts of coffee or mulled wine.
Starting with a coffee at the downtown ferry terminal (discount ferry tickets for groups will be arranged), we will bike-ferry to Waiheke. Our first stop will be the Oyster Inn, for celebratory bubbles, hosted by Lady Gang! We have a $500 tab generously donated from their winning category in Love to Ride earlier this year. Some nibbles will be provided, but we urge you to have lunch before you come.
More details and updates on the Frocks on Bikes – Auckland FaceBook.
Last week at the bicycle-themed Pecha Kucha I got introduced to the South Auckland whirlwind that is Teau Aiturau. Teau (the kids call him Mr Tee) is one of those people with such energy and enthusiasm you’re left breathless just listening to what he fits in a week. Read his inspirational story over at Cycle Action Auckland, Auckland could do with more Mr Tees!
Teau’s charitable trust, Time To thrive – To Stay Alive (Triple Teez), is running a fun night-ride this Friday (17th July) to celebrate Matariki. Perfect timing for those of us with children, that’s the last day of the school holidays. Pop some fresh batteries in those blinkies, re-stock your glow-stick supplies, and join the Triple Teez for a relaxed loop from Mangere Town Centre down to Onehunga and back.
The route includes both the old and new Mangere Bridges and as we discovered at Bike Rave, riding with friends at night is a whole lot of fun!
What the faark is Pecha Kucha you ask? Invitations to this thing kept turning up in my inbox and I’ll admit due to nothing more than the name alone, I wrote it off as some kind of hippy-trippy green-fest.
A Pecha Kucha night is an event format in which presenters show a slideshow of 20 images, each of which is shown for 20 seconds – giving a total presentation time of 6 minutes 40 seconds. Each event usually has 8 – 14 presenters. Presenters (and much of the audience) are usually from the design, architecture, photography, art and creative fields.
It was only when one of the presenters asked permission to use a couple of my photos I bothered to read through the website and realised this next one is bicycle-themed.
Design, Architecture, Photography, Art, Bicycles? – This thing sounds right up my alley. It might be up yours too?
Here’s a tentative list of presenters. Bound to change, but it’ll give you an idea:
Pecha Kucha Night Auckland vol. 45 in collaboration with Auckland Transport // “the bicycle edition” // 7 July 2015 // shed10, Waterfront // start 7.30pm, doors open 6.45pm // free entry // valet bicycle parking // eftpos bar // come early for a chat and a good seat.
- Richard Easther // Physicist, University of Auckland // The Physics of Cycling: It’s How We Roll
- Peter Madden // artist //
- Carol Green // Bike Te Atatu // Bicycle Burbs
- Barbara Grace // ‘An Odyssey from the Claud Butler to the Brompton World Champs’ or ‘Findings from an elderly cyclist’
- Shane Chapman // bicycle chap // the history of bikes
- Kathryn King // AT walking and cycling manager // ‘The Auckland Cycle Programme’
- Karl Jim Kuhla // 9 year old boy // about cycling to school in South Auckland
- Teau Aiturau (Tee) // Mangere Community Cycle Projects
- Jessica Rose // bicycle rider // a journey back to the future with a girl on a bike
- Greg Wood // Digital Creative Director // “FRIDING: Changing behaviour, one (Fri)day at a time” // www.friding.org
It’s been a while since I last had a fang on an e-bike. A couple of summers ago I blasted around the Shore astride a day-glow orange cruiser and it shattered some preconceptions, electric bikes are a lot of fun!
In the intervening years worldwide e-bike sales have soared. In Europe, North America and Asia they can’t get enough of them, it was time to have another look…
The guys at Bute Bikes in Browns Bay loaned me a candy apple red SmartMotion eUrban to put through it’s paces. But this wasn’t a summer-fling, a sunny-day smooch-fest, this was a solid week of commuting, and a cold wet week it turned out to be.
So I didn’t ascend mountains and take pretty pictures like last time. I was battling wet roads, drizzle and fog riding to work, a true test for any bike.
The eUrban is no head-turner, like a 90’s mountainbike it’s all straight lines and all business. But it’s a smart looking machine all the same and felt very solid and well put-together.
I chose the eUrban with it’s traditional “diamond” frame (highish top-tube), but Chris at Bute Bikes tells me it’s outsold by it’s sibling the eCity. They share most components but with the eCity’s “step-through” frame you don’t have to swing a leg over the seat when hopping on and off – something to think about.
I don’t know if this is the “standard” way of doing things, but on the SmartMotions (and Pedegos for that matter) there are two ways to squeeze your juice.
First-up, using buttons on the LCD control panel you can select 5-levels of “assist”. You pedal as normal and (providing you keep pedalling) the motor helps out as little or as much as required. On level-1 you will hardly notice the motor, it effectively cancels-out the extra weight you are carrying with batteries and what-not. Click up to level-3 or 4 and you’re zipping along at road-bike speeds but in a very relaxed manner. Maxed-out at level-5 you won’t get the same mileage from the battery but you will be riding faster than you have ever ridden before. On the flat you are turning the pedals but hardly applying any torque. Tackle a hill and you change down a gear or two but the effort is still moderate, no breaking a sweat, even in your work clothes.
The second way to apply power is to twist the throttle. Similar to a motorbike the more you twist the faster you go, it’s very addictive!
In practice you will use a combination of the two. The throttle is fantastic pulling away from a standstill. When the lights turn green you give it a big handful and are sailing along at 30kph in no time, no matter what level of assist you have selected. Feeling a little taxed on a big climb? – Twist the throttle to push you over the top, easy peasy!
I found the eUrban very comfortable. The bars are nice and high resulting in a straight back and a wonderful view of the road ahead. Meaty tyres, telescopic front forks and a suspension seat-post isolate you from road vibration and smooth-out pot-holes.
I live at sea-level and my commute starts with a 2km climb no matter what direction I choose. On my own bike I ride in a t-shirt and shorts year-round otherwise I get too hot grinding uphill and begin to sweat. On the SmartMotion I was adding items of clothing day-by-day because I was feeling the cold. By the end of the week I was wearing a thermal base-layer under my shirt, a lined raincoat and gloves!
I loved commuting on the eUrban, it was so well-configured for that role. It rained every day and the full-length mudguards did a great job keeping road-spray at bay. Dry feet, dry back, dry bum and dangly-bits – if you’re riding in everyday clothes mudguards are a no-brainer.
The rear rack supports the battery (locked with a key), has a sprung-loaded carrier up top and rails each side to support panniers. I used my backpack, but if the eUrban was a permanent member of the family I’d commute with my panniers, they fitted like a glove.
The lights are integrated in the bike so you never leave them at home or have to replace batteries. I work shifts and am riding in the dark literally every day. Using a car or motorbike you take having lights onboard for granted, it’s a very welcome feature on a bike.
With electricity on-tap at all times USB ports are provided on the handlebars and battery for charging devices. How cool is that, you can juice-up your phone or iPod on-the-go.
SmartMotion e-bikes are designed in New Zealand and use the same eDrive system they developed for NZ Post. The industrial-grade components are tough, easily serviceable and feature top-notch waterproofing. Okay, I stole that paragraph from the marketing department, but you get the gist – proven technology, designed by Kiwis, for Kiwis.
The lithium-polymer battery is warrantied for 2 years and should last 3-5 years before performance drops and it requires replacement. These high-tech Korean batteries don’t come cheap, but compared to buying petrol or using public transport it’s economical transport.
So I’ve blathered on about performance and features but there’s three words that sum-up my week of commuting on the eUrban – Fun, Fast and Easy. Those are pretty nice words to describe a commute, how does your’s stack-up?
At the last Bike Rave Auckland, principal sponsor Lescykill Bicycle ran a photo competition.
Preoccupied as I was with not losing my nine year old daughter in the city, I still managed to grab a couple of decent snaps and won myself a bike!
I picked it up last week from Lescykill HQ and what a beautiful little thing it is. But that’s the problem right there, it’s little, a 53cm frame – the largest Lescykill make.
It’s one of those Goldilocks situations where the bike is too small for the two big boys in the family, too big for the two girls and the “just right” kid in the middle prefers to ride his mountainbike on the hills around here.
As much as I’d love to keep it (tempted to hang it on the wall) I’d prefer to find a new home so she actually gets ridden in anger.
If you fancy a brand new singlespeed (converts to fixed-gear with the flip-flop hub) give me a shout [ firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Model: Lescykill Schlüter SS
Colour: Pearl White
Weight: A svelte 10.5kg
Asking price: $350