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This is the kind of cyclist we need on North Shore roads!

July 24, 2010

In the North Shore Times this week was a delightful letter from local resident Sonali. A simple story encompassing the joy, frustration and dangers, but mostly joy (don’t forget the joy) of riding a bike around our neighbourhood. One paragraph in and I was on that bike with her, the wind in my hair, the sun on my back and a smile from ear to ear…

The warm sunshine on Sunday, 18th July pulled me out of bed and it seemed too tragic to spend the day indoors. So I went to church on my bicycle in my Sunday best. It was still so gorgeous that I decided to explore the neighbourhood on my bike. After a few false starts and stops I was sailing down hill on the cycle path from Baysview road towards Takapuna. The uphill’s had me get off my bike and walk my bike till I reached the top. But the downhill’s with the wind in my hair was an experience beyond words.

Since I reached Takapuna without any mishap, I thought I would continue down to Milford and perhaps surprise my son at The Warehouse and take him out for lunch and a spot of sunshine. Not surprisingly, I was not the only one enjoying the sunshine. The footpaths were milling with people taking in the sun and window shopping. I noticed that there were no cycle lanes although there were many cyclists. The more confident ones in their battle gear were whizzing past on the road. The lesser confident, albeit determined cyclists, like me, were weaving in and out of lazy shoppers on the footpath. Since I could not spot a cycling lane, I consoled myself that this must be a “share and care” footpath. There could be no other explanation after John Key’s ambitious declaration to connect both the North and South Island by cyclable lanes. But, when a busy shopper pointed out the road to me and reminded me where the street was, I thought that I must be making a mistake.

So, I cycled down to Milford and back trying to find the cycle lanes that I should be on so as to avoid the pedestrians being a hazard to me, but they were conspicuous by their absence. If anyone does find these missing cycle lanes, could they please inform me.

Kind regards
Sonali Geo

I finished reading and I wanted to tie-down every politician, councillor, traffic engineer, town planner and roading bean-counter in the country and read it over, and over, and over to them, their eyes propped-open with matchsticks until they got it. We need better, safer and faster cycling infrastructure so ordinary people like Sonali feel confidant riding to work, to church, to the shops, to the beach…

Thanks Sonali for taking the time to share your experience, I’ll fight the fight just a little bit harder now.

“Build it and they will come” he muttered as he shut down the computer and shuffled off to bed…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolyn permalink
    July 24, 2010 6:17 pm

    That’s a lovely letter. My type of riding exactly! And I also want to be safe when I ride my bike. More bike paths everywhere will encourage more and more people like us to cycle for pleasure without the fear of the traffic

  2. July 24, 2010 9:48 pm

    Well said that woman, my type of riding too!

    I rode down to the Takapuna Library today with my daughter in the trailer. That stretch of road between Milford and Takapuna is a sitter for a bike lane in each direction. The only thing that makes it unsafe is the parked cars on what is after all a main thoroughfare.

    – Antoine

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