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February 5, 2011

I ambled down to Devonport and back last Tuesday trying to get some fitness in the legs for an upcoming mountainbike race. I do the DUAL every year as it’s a unique chance to ride on the normally off-limits Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands. The trails are so mellow I used my “road” bike last year, but it’s a fair haul at 50km and pretty hilly in parts so you won’t enjoy it if you haven’t put in the miles!

Anyway, enough of racing, what I wanted to talk about was… well I don’t really know the proper name for it, or if it even has a proper name? I normally use the term “Utility Cycling”, but that brings up images of cargo-bikes hauling rubbish bins. What I’m talking about is regular people riding regular bicycles, the whole reason for this blog. Lets call it “Everyday Cycling”, that’s got a nice ring to it.

Seeing families out in the fresh air having fun on bikes, or people using a bike to get to work or the shops is what rings my bells. Normally I spot the odd exponent on my rides but this quiet Wednesday afternoon was Everyday Cycling nirvana, they were everywhere. Some doubt the “build it and they will come” theory but I truly believe the building of bicycle infrastructure, both for recreation and transport is having an effect. You make it easy for people and they will start doing it. Sermon over, enjoy the photos:

Boardwalk Lads
I ran into these two likely lads on the beautiful Northboro Reserve boardwalk, kids on bikes, one of my favourite things. There’s a fantastic new playground just around the corner and I’m guessing that’s where they’d come from. That’s the great thing about the Devonport to Takapuna Green Route, you can amble along from suburb to suburb well away from the traffic and din.
Boardwalk Boys
With permission from mum there was time for a quick photo opportunity then off they shot towards Jutland Rd as fast as they’d come. Nice to meet you boys.
Mt Victoria Bike
I always ride up Mt Victoria when I’m in Devonport. One of the best views in the world I reckon. Halfway up the access road is the Michael King Writers’ Centre and what was parked outside? An everyday-bike sporting my latest obsession, a bicycle basket. I had a quick chat to the owner who was tidying the garden and it turns out her husband also champions for everyday cycling and we had met on a couple of occasions. Small world, and would we have had that conversation if I was blasting up the road in my car? That’s the great thing about bikes, you move at the pace-of-life and social interaction is always on the cards, even for a shy person like myself.
Basket Bike on Devonport Wharf
Even the bikes parked on Devonport wharf are getting baskets, baskets and flowers for this little number. Throw your bag in and you’re back home in five minutes, especially in flat old Devonport. Beats a twenty minute walk.
Devonport Bike Belle
After the wharf I headed down King Edward Parade towards Cheltenham Beach and stumbled upon this picture of elegance. Why don’t more Kiwi woman want to look like that I ask myself? Stylish, serene, healthy and sexy… I’m running out of adjectives.
Pyrénées Delicatessen
I was riding past the French delicatessen in Cheltenham (that’s me in the green t-shirt) when I spotted a wonderful bicycle painting above the door so I doubled back for a close-up. Great taste inside and out!
Delicatessen Sign
That scene is about as european as you can get and fits in well with our “everyday cycling” theme. The French are as car crazy as anyone but the bicycle has an accepted place in their society, it’s part of the transport landscape.
Takapuna Miyata
Which brings us to the final photo. Smack bang in the middle of Takapuna locked up to one the outgoing council’s new bike-racks was about as “everyday” a bike as you’re likely to see. Practicality personified. Nothing flashy about it, but I’m sure it’s cost less to run in the last twenty years that a car would in six months and you can park it on the footpath outside your destination.

So I carried on home pretty pleased with the state of cycling on the Shore. We’ve only just begun of course, and there’s much work to be done, but the signs are there I tell you!

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