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The 3.219 Kilometre Challenge

November 12, 2010

In America Clif Bar run a thing called The 2 Mile Challenge. They’re a company trying to flog sports nutrition but the premise of the challenge is a good one – “Use your bike for trips of 2 miles or less”.

As they say on the website:
40% of U.S. urban travel is 2 miles or less90% of those trips are by car

I think we’d have similar numbers down here and wouldn’t it be great if a New Zealand company got behind utility cycling as these guys have? Sanitarium do a good job with the Weet-Bix Tryathlons, Meridian with their Kids’ Bike Jams, but these and many similar events always have a sporting focus. Encouraging cycling as everyday transport has more appeal to me.

Don’t get these short journeys confused with a work-commute, those trips can involve significant distances. What we’re talking about here is popping down to the dairy for bread or to the park with your kids.

I do a lot of these small trips by bike, especially on the days I’m looking after my pre-schooler, and they inject some fun into a mundane task.

Below are some photos taken on a recent trip to get a haircut. I hate shopping, I hate getting my hair cut, but if I can combine them with a bike ride it makes these unbearable tasks bearable and in most cases downright enjoyable.

People are put-off the idea of utility cycling for many reasons; They think it’s slower. It’s hard work. You can’t ride a bike in street clothes. You get sweaty… Bollocks. I’ve not found any of that to be true. If I’m riding up a hill (plenty of those on the Shore) and I’m getting hot, I just ride slower – it’s not rocket science! Riding fast can be hard work but ride at a comfortable pace and it’s easier and quicker than walking, “no-sweat” you might say. I wear my regular clothes and I’ve got flat pedals on my bikes so I can hop on wearing any shoes I damn well like, no Lycra-encasement, padded-undercrackers or special equipment required.

You can usually make a short journey as fast on a bike as in your car, faster if the traffic is heavy. Any time lost up the hills is invariably gained when you pull-up directly outside your destination and avoid the parking-space-hunt that often follows a car trip.

So here’s my latest 2 mile challenge (in photos) after six months successfully avoiding the barber. Fresh-air, sunshine, no petrol, safer than driving, stimulating conversation about the shade of pink of Dora’s skirt as opposed to Barbie’s halter-top. It’s a win-win for everyone!

The Options - Trailer or Station-Wagon

Trailer or Station-Wagon today? A no-brainer really.

Leaving Home

Packed-up ready to go. Sunglasses, biscuits, matching jacket.

Parking at the Shops

Secure parking right outside the shops. Thanks NSCC. Oops, Supercity.

The playground parking was even closer.

Parking "in" the playground.

Cruz'n the Hood

Cruz'n home in the fresh-air, taking in the local sights.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2010 1:08 pm

    The bike with the trailer looks awsome! I have seen trailers with kids in them in The Netherlands. But this is the first time i see it here. I agree that we should take the bike for our short trips to the dairy etc. Here in NZ, people see cycling as a sport. And that scares them, i think. If they could see it as a way of transport, it would be much better. I do ride my bike, wearing cycling clothes, but that doesn’t mean you have to! It would be good to promote cycling here in New zealand, to boost the “clean and green” image, people always talk about

  2. November 15, 2010 1:05 pm

    I agree!

    Sit in your car with a glum look on your face while some DJ or talkback host cracks inane jokes on the radio or zoom along on the bike, wind in the hair, smile on the face?!

    Take it easy with the barbershop rides though Antoine you don’t have THAT much hair left! ;-)

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