Even More Opportunities to Ride Your Bikes
“Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia”. – H.G. Wells
So you’ve got the cycling bug! What now? Do want to meet other families who cycle? Perhaps you would like to help make riding a bike safer and more accessible? Or are you keen to pursue cycling as a family or individual sport? This post will help you find ways to have a go, join up, get involved or get sporty.
Get Friendly – Cycling Events
“It’s so much more friendly with two.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
February is ‘BikeWise’ month, including ‘Go by Bike’ Day, often celebrated with free breakfast for riders. To find your local BikeWise events see: https://www.bikewise.co.nz/events/view-all-events
Various local bodies hold their own cycling events to promote cycling, such as a family fun ride on a local trail. It is a fun way to be with other cycling families, enjoy a friendly vibe, lots of support and some fun freebies. Check out your local council and regional authority websites and the ‘what’s on’ section of your local paper.
“Ciclovía (siːklɵˈviː.ə), also ciclovia, cyclovia (or also open streets in English-speaking countries)….the closing of city streets to automobiles for the enjoyment of cyclists and public alike.” Source: Wikipedia.
Ciclovía is a global phenomenon whereby roads are closed to cars and opened for people. With the roads free of traffic, you can experience your city in a whole new way. Wellington has one in February on the Miramar peninsula, and other cities have had a go too. Look out for one near you.
All decked out for Wellington’s Cyclovia on Valentine’s Day
Frocks on Bikes
The ‘Frocks on Bikes’ movement is about being able to ride however often you want, at whatever speed you like, in whatever you like to wear – yes, even a frock! They have events throughout the country, some of which are at family friendly times. Check out: https://frocksonbikes.wordpress.com
Cycling is a popular sport with lots of options to chose from. Many clubs hold ‘have a go’ days where you get to try it out with lots of friendly support and advice. Check out their websites or call their contact number to find out what they have. Some of the modern sports are run more like a business, where you can sign up for a single event or series of events. They usually also offer beginners options.
Aimed at youngsters, BMX is a fun and fast paced sport involving riding dirt tracks with a variety of terrain challenges. Local clubs abound throughout the country. BMX bikes are have smaller wheels and no gears. Safety gear is usually worn. www.bmx.net.nz
Mountain Biking – MTB
Mountain Biking is a fun sport for the whole family. Whilst most clubs cater for adults, there are women’s specific clubs, and others that offer family days, junior events, or skills training for children. Some clubs focus on racing, and others are more about leisure riding and building tracks. Find your local club at http://www.mountainbike.co.nz/index.php/Clubs/Clubs
Mountain Bike Orienteering – MTB-O
Mountain bike orienteering (MTBO) combines the skills of orienteering and mountain biking. Route choice is just as important as fast riding: exercising both brain and body. For added challenge and variety, MTBO events can be held in areas not normally accessible to the public. Clubs may offer family or beginner events, as well as urban ‘treasure hunt’ style challenges. http://www.orienteering.org.nz/about-orienteering/mtb-orienteering/
Cyclocross – CX
This new sport is growing in popularity with participants and spectators. It requires cycling and running fitness, as well as strength and bike handling skills. A cyclocross race consists of multiple laps of a short course. The course will feature a variety of surfaces (sealed, unsealed, grass), challenges (e.g. hills) and obstacles (which require the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike whilst navigating the obstruction and remount). Races for senior categories are generally between 30 minutes and an hour long, making it popular for people with busy weekends. A cyclocross bike is a blend between a mountain bike (knobbly tyres) and a road racing bike (drop handlebars). Sometimes beginners can use a mountain bike. Find out more at: http://www.nzcyclocross.co.nz/what-is-cx.html
Most adventure races are run as events, or a series of events, rather than as club activities. Often they are aimed at raising money for charity, e.g. the Cure Kids adventure races for both adults and children http://curekids.org.nz/get-involved/events/. Participants combine navigational skills with multiple sports (running, mountain biking, canoeing, river traversing, open swimming, etc.). Some race calenders can be found at: http://endurancesport.co.nz/adventureracing/ and http://www.multisport.net.nz/multisport-events-calendar.html or check out posters and flyers in your local bike shop.
Triathlons combine swimming, running and biking. Shorter races are aimed at people new to exercise. Those seeking more of a challenge compete in longer races right up to the seriously challenging Ironman events. Beginner events are usually well promoted in local newspapers. For more challenging events check out your local Triathlon club (you’ll find their details at your pool or bike shop) or http://www.triathlon.net.nz/triathlon-events-calendar.html.
http://ironmaori.com: a supportive event for anyone aspiring to an extra challenge; including quarter and half options.
Form your Own
If none of these take your fancy, or are not available in your local area, you could form your own club. Existing clubs in other areas may be willing to provide training and support. Technology make it easier to link up with interested folks but don’t forget the power and reach of your local paper.
|Did you know?
Mountain biking and BMX are both Olympic sports: something for young athletes to aspire to!
An Ironman triathlon consists of a 4km swim, and 180km bike ride, and a 42km run: one of the most difficult sporting events in the world. Quarter and Half events cater for us lesser mortals.
Junior sports events
Events aimed at children usually offer a very supportive environment, for even the most non-sporty child, to have a go and find out what they can do. Participation rather than competition is usually the focus. Check out:
- Weetbix Kids Tryathlon: http://try.weetbix.co.nz
- Childrens catergories in adults events:
- Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Kids 5km Heart Ride: http://www.cyclechallenge.com/bike-races-nz/kids/
- Karapoti classic – Kids 5 km Challenge: http://www.karapoti.co.nz/thecourse/
- Aucklands Bike the Bridge: http://www.bikethebridge.co.nz/event-info
- Local charity rides. Numerous charity rides are run throughout NZ and many have family and kids categories.
To find find these and other opportunities, ask at your local bike shop, look for information in your library or check out online listings such as eventfinda.co.nz, category: all events – sports & outdoors – cycling, or cycling club pages
An online challenge enables you to team up with friends and family, regardless of where they live, and record your cycling activity. As a team you get to compete against others, track your own progress and possibly win prizes. www.lovetoride.net
Have your say – Advocacy
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” Margaret Mead
“Be the change you want to see in the world” Mohandas Gandhi
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
Do you want to feel safer riding?
Do you want to see more people riding bikes?
Do you want more places to ride?
Do you feel yourself getting worked up when a motorist gets angry, aggressive or impatient?
Then channel those desires and energy into your own style of advocacy. Do you know drivers who get annoyed with cyclists on the road? Encourage them to vent their feelings by campaigning for more facilities for cyclists. If they don’t want us on the road then get us a cycle path! There is a six-times return on investment for any amount spent on cycling facilities, so we all win!
There are many ways you can advocate for more facilities for people who cycle (and walk). Choose something that suits your time, skills and motivation and be part of the change you wish for.
Lead by example
Inspire others to cycle simply by cycling in daily life with your family. Invite interested friends to join your outings. Lend a bike to someone who wants to have a go.
Max is proud to feature in cycling promotion posters in Wellington.
Choose one to suit your style and interests, whether it be a bike fix-up group at your local school or a local/national organisation promoting cyclists rights. Choose whether you want to be involved at the coalface or by making financial or other contributions.
Check out Cycling Action Network (CAN, formerly Cycle Aware New Zealand) at https://can.org.nz/local-groups to find out what they do nationally and what groups exist in your local area.
Letter to your council / MP / newspaper
Take ten minutes to speak up about something you wish was different. Want more cycle parking? Want more shared use paths? Want the legal right to cycle on the footpath? Write and tell the decision makers that it matters to you.
Tip: Nothing sparks debate like cycling issues in the news. Often a voice of reason, from an ‘average’ person can mean more than the grenade wielding extremists on both sides of the argument! A measured, reasonable and friendly tone will engage the public and win more support.
Show your support
Proposed cycling facilities or law changes are publicised and open for public submissions. This is an important opportunity to show that you do want change and that it matters to you and your family. Often it is as simple as completing a survey, signing a petition, or filling in an online form. Let your voice be heard: your opinions matter and add to the growing tide of support for cycling.
Report problems to your council
Many local authorities are committed to improving facilities for walking and cycling. Once they know about a problem they are able to do something about it. Make use of contact phone numbers or web-submission forms that your council provide, and alert them to any problems or concerns that impact your cycling. This also enables them to track and prioritise requests which in turn impacts their funding decisions.
Ask for Bike Parking
If a business you frequent does not provide bike parking, write them a letter. Cycle racks are an effective and subtle way of showing support for cycling, as well as planting the seed of thought “hey, I could cycle here too”.
Sample letter requesting bike parking.
I’m a regular customer/member/visitor to of [insert name of business/organisation]. I often ride my bicycle there and have noticed it is hard to find a good place to park it. Would you please consider helping to provide some dedicated cycle parking, in a handy spot, where I could safely leave my bike? Perhaps you could ask your landlord or the council to assist?
Did you know that:
Thanks for considering my request. If you would like to discuss it further I am more than happy to help.
Check out bikeswelcome.org
Cycling Action Network. Work with government and local authorities on behalf of cyclists, for a better cycling environment. Membership open to anyone. https://can.org.nz
Bike Wise. New Zealand’s national programme of activities which promote cycling as a fun, healthy and safe way to travel. https://www.bikewise.co.nz
Local Authority Cycling Resources
Check out your councils website or https://www.bikeswelcome.org/local-authorities/