Okay, okay, I’ve calmed down a little since that last rant and I’m looking at the positives, looking at the big picture. The overriding problem with Open Streets 2015 was only HALF the street was open, but that’s an easy fix.
Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, ATEED, [insert an organisation we pay for here _______ ] have now all seen the possibilities. As far as lots of people in the city having fun “on the street” goes, it was a great success.
But, it can be improved upon, and YOU can help.
Whether you attended or not, please take a couple of minutes to fill out the following survey by Auckland Transport and let’s make the next one bigger and better!
I suggest (you suggest) opening-up the WHOLE of Quay St, not just the waterfront side of the road. Even better, why not a couple of complete blocks so bikers, trikers, scooterers, skaters, unicyclists, walkers, runners and their four-legged friends have some room to move. That would be a total blast and people couldn’t wait to come back for the next one.
You may have some other ideas, get clicking…
I try to keep things positive on the BFNS blog but I walked away from last Sunday’s Open Streets bitterly disappointed.
Along with other members of the bike-community I’d been asked by Auckland Transport to get involved and ended-up designing the logo and accompanying icons. I’m no organiser, but I can draw, and it was cool being able to contribute to a community event with the one skill I do possess.
I cajoled my 14-year-old to hang with dad for a few hours and after parking-up at Point Erin pools we rode into town popping wheelies and jumping curbs on our mountainbikes. Having a ball we cruised through Wynyard Quarter with big smiles on our faces and entered Quay St full of hope & promise.
Twenty seconds into Quay St those smiles were quickly extinguished as a feral young lady hurled obscenities at us for riding (very slowly) through a queue waiting to shoot hoops. “What the f**k are you doing?” she screamed like a mad woman, while wildly gesticulating for us to ride on the footpath. That was our welcome to Open Streets and as far as bike-riding goes it didn’t get much better.
The event was popular, there were large crowds, but because most activities used all of the available road there was simply nowhere left to ride. Pedestrians and cyclists were forced onto a very congested footpath causing conflict. Meanwhile, cars and trucks roared past on the opposite half of the road killing the vibe and removing any connection to downtown Auckland.
By only closing half the street the organisers had only half committed to the event, it was never going to work well.
I saw lots of frustrated faces and felt very sorry for mums and dads with young children. It was a nightmare herding littlies on trikes and bikes through that throng of people.
Have a search on YouTube for Open Streets or Ciclovia and you’ll see what these things are supposed to look like. It’s all about movement through your city or community and with the whole road available you can stop to interact with activities and local businesses at your leisure.
Hunter and I still had a good time, but it was nothing like I expected and I apologise for putting any of you crook. I rode away quite dejected, somewhat ashamed to be associated with Open Streets and feeling very guilty for promoting it on this site.
I can only hope the large numbers attending will convince the council to commit fully next time (if there is a next time) and open-up more of the city to it’s population. They do it for triathletes and runners, why not ordinary citizens and families?
Next Sunday Quay Street is all ours as Open Streets takes over Downtown Auckland.
As an incentive to existing riding groups and to motivate a few new ones Cycle Action Auckland is running a Bike Gang Challenge competition. There’s a $500 grand prize for the largest gang (probably restaurant or cinema vouchers at this stage), and a stack of spot prizes up for grabs for various categories such as most expensive bike, best dressed bike, youngest (& oldest) gang member, longest bike etc…..
Road, BMX and mountainbike clubs have got a head-start on numbers but there’s plenty of bike-shops with regular group-rides and a buzzing waterfront (with a distinct lack of cars) would make a great destination for your bunch.
But you don’t have to be a big deal to take part and have fun. Get family, friends or work colleagues involved, rock-up to the Cycle Action Tent on Sunday and maybe score some free swag or a spot prize?
As an example the Frocks on Bikes gals (gang) are “going Japanese” to Open Streets. My Hello Kitty costume is at the cleaners so I politely declined, but they’re keen for any fun-loving girls, guys or kids to join them – follow the link above for more info.
- When: Friday May 15 at 8:00pm*
- Where: Starts at Mission Bay (Look for the blinkies)
- The Route: A gentle ramble along the waterfront bike path to Silo Park in Wynyard Quarter
- FaceBook Event Page
Following hot on the heals of the successful pilot ride, Bike Rave Auckland is rocking again. With 150 riders turning up for the test-run, who knows how many will join the party this time around?
Festoon your ride with as many lights, blinkies or highflalutin LED wonderlights as you can get your hands on, or simply zip-tie a bunch of $2-Shop glow-sticks to your helmet and spokes, no-one’s judging!
Unlike some “sporting” rides there’s no bike-snobbing at Bike Rave, any steed will do and everyone is welcome. We had everything from BMXs to cargo-bikes (and every genre in-between) last time, and it was a ton of fun.
It’s wonderful to see vibrant bike-culture like this popping-up in Auckland, get along and be part of it!
*Rain date is a week later
Sunday 12th April, 10am – 4pm
Quay Street, from Princes Wharf to Tinley Street (That’s 1km)
Open Streets is an international initiative to claim the street for walking, cycling, playing and socialising. At Open Streets 2015, the road will be temporarily closed to vehicle traffic. You can stroll or ride in a car-free space and enjoy a variety of activities, with street entertainers, family fun, sports activities, guided tours, street games, a heritage trial, chill out areas, and much more. Get your family and friends together, say goobye to your car and come explore the waterfront.
I’ve watched my friends in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco having a ball at these for years so it’s very exciting to finally get one in Auckland. There was a similar gig last year called Ciclovía, but it slipped under the radar somewhat. For 2015 we have a name Kiwis understand, professional event organisation, much more promotion and a bigger slice of Quay Street. Can’t wait!
Show the powers-that-be Aucklanders want this event by turning up in droves, with your significant other, with the kids, the neighbour’s kids, your dog if you have one. Oh, and your bikes, don’t forget to bring your bikes!
Open Streets Auckland is a FREE event.
If you’re curious about transporting littlies on two wheels and want to avoid the bike-shop “hard-sell”, pop along on Sunday March 22nd and check it out.
Or maybe you have friends that are not very bike-savvy and are unfamiliar with the various child seats and systems? Perfect, give them a shout-out!
This is an event for families with younger children. There will be learn to ride instruction for kids still on training wheels, information on the best ways to cycle as a family (e.g. using baby seats, baby trailers etc.), support and information from those who already cycle with their kids, a range of children’s seats, trailers and ‘tag-alongs’ to check-out and other activities.
When: Sunday March 22, 10.30am – 2.00pm
Where: Roberta Reserve, Pt England
Riding with small children is very rewarding and once you get in-the-groove it’s A LOT more relaxing (and fun) than tripping around the neighbourhood by car.
After a long list of excuses were ignored and man-flu symptoms rightfully mocked, I eventually convinced my friend Muz to join me (way past his bedtime) and we set-off for the Mission Bay start with lights blinking and spirits high.
Riding bikes in the city is fun. Riding bikes at night is funner. And riding with your friends is the winning combo.
We snaked through Downtown, weaving around tin-tops, intoxicated yoof and bewildered tourists. By Tamaki Drive we had caught some fellow ravers and continued along the waterfront bike-path in a ragtag bunch of twenty or so.
Side Note: That Tamaki Drive bike-path is CRAP! (Apologies, I know this is a family-friendly site). It’s poorly lit, narrow, windy, badly surfaced and totally unsuitable for sharing with pedestrians, quite dangerous in fact. Shame on you Auckland Council, now I know what everyone’s been complaining about!
Approaching Mission Bay a rainbow frenzy of flashing lights and glow-sticks exploded through the trees and before long we were milling around with 150 others keenly awaiting the 9.30pm start. That’s not an “Eden Park” crowd estimate either – I counted 150 and the organisers came up with a similar number.
Once we got moving a shimmering ribbon of colour, music and laughter drifted around the water’s edge towards the city, stopping on occasion to take in the views, wet-our-whistles and marvel at the fireworks exploding above the Domain. It was all pretty cruisy and relaxing. I had imagined excitable youngsters ducking & diving across my path but there was none of that, and despite the condition of the bike-path I didn’t see anyone come to grief.
It was a young crowd, but there were plenty of oldies like me and even a couple of kids present who were loving rocking around the city that late at night.
Passing cars on Tamaki Drive would regularly toot and holla their approval with the odd bogun chipping-in to question our sexuality and choice of vehicle. That was pretty funny, just added to the experience.
I was having such a great time I hardly took any photos but there’s plenty more on the FaceBook page from fellow ravers if you’re interested.
More riders will add to the excitement and the music could have been louder, but I think for a “pilot”, testing the waters as it were, Friday night’s Bike Rave was a great success. Well done to the organizers Lennart and Emma, can’t wait for the next one!