We are just back from our family holiday visiting friends and family in New Zealand. The intention was to show our sons a bit of the North Island and for them to meet their uncles and aunties over the 3 weeks.
I hired a hybrid for a 2 week period from Western Springs and rode it back over to the North Shore. It was a pleasant trip in the warm sunshine punctuated by a 12 min ferry crossing save for 1 clown in Takapuna who sat on his horn behind me in order to get past me (he did but I cruised past him when he reached the inevitable queue at a junction 500 metres later). While I had been warned that people in cars have little patience with people on bikes, this was my only experience of it which is mostly similar to my own of the UK.
I wanted to do more than I eventually did but Mrs B2W is in the middle of marathon training for April so I had to fit my riding in around that pressing priority. It was a whirlwind stay but I managed to get enough riding in the sunshine with short sleeves, shorts, a single layer & stay happy. Or at least stop the inevitable grumps as a result of cycling withdrawl…
I went short distances & a couple of routes that during my smoking, drinking young adult days felt unrealistic. In fact one old hilly training run of 10km that felt like a good workout back in the day did not cut the mustard in terms of enjoyment or exercise. So I added in a lazy loop around Lake Pupuke. It was fun and made me feel fit, fitter than I ever was. Given the traffic problem in Auckland, if I was ever forced to live and work there, commuting by bicycle would be the only way to go.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the addition of cycle lanes on busy roads and permissions allowed for cyclists in the transit lanes.
I am excited by but not holding my breath about a pedestrian/cycling commuter clip on lane on the harbour bridge. Read about the plans here on the Bike Friendly North Shore blog. A lot of people that I have spoken to about it think it a waste of time and being of little value to solve the City’s rush hour traffic problem. I agree to a certain extent that there won’t be a critical mass of enough people to make a great difference. But like other arguments about funding a rapid rail system, we won’t be able to measure any “value” for a good 10 years after implementation.
So I’ve said farewell to my shorts and short sleeve tops for now and will shortly be braving the cool, dank, grey drizzle of Essex in my tights, layers and gloves. I am buoyed by the probability that at least the 2nd half of my morning commutes into work from now on will be in daylight and it is slightly warmer than when we left. Not as warm as rain free 26°C temperatures so please roll on Spring…