Introducing my newest blog.

14 10 2009

This is my 3rd active blog. The others are:

The Great Distraction about anything and everything, and

Idiot Free Kapiti about the SH1 proposals between Peka-Peka and Otaki.

but this one Wellington Region Cycleways is pretty self explanatory.

Here is what I intend to write about, topic by topic, in the upcoming parts of the calendar:

Particular routes:
Queen Elizabeth Park and it’s proposed commuter cycleway
Palmerston North – Cycle City
Kaiwharawhara to Petone and why I’m too scared to ride it
The National Cycleway – Wellington to Foxton
Negotiating Johnsonville without being killed by a shopper
An improved Paremata bridge
Getting under Takapu Road.
Cycleways in Kapiti with the new SH1.
etc, etc.

Other topics:
Why pedelecs are cool, and how they could be better
etc, etc.

When I arrived last year in Wellington (I’m an Australian, but not from a rugby state, so no I don’t give a damn about every Wallabies loss and stop frickin’ telling me about the All Blacks) each day on each weekend it wasn’t blowing a gale I started walking from Seatoun and taking up from wherever I left off, walking the Wellington City walkways and then the Te Araroa route I kept on going til I got to Otaki Forks. It was a nice way to be introduced to the place. And I am traditionally more a walker than a bicyclist, but I do like getting on a bike.

I’ve now got two, a normal Chinese cheapie MTB I shipped from Oz, and my new pedelec. The appeal of pedal electrics is not just in that they are fun to ride, and help me, as a fat man, up hills (like up the hill into Pukerua Bay from the Coast Road at 24 km/hr, pedalling effortlessly), but I reckon we are at the cusp of a new golden age of bicycling. It is happening in northern Europe, and some cities in Italy. Instead of 5% of journeys (or 2% or whatever) going by bike, now some cities are like 30% or 45% or 50% of all journeys by bikes. As I sat on the steps one time near the cathedral in Parma one time, eating pizza by the slice at midnight, getting pissed off by the noise and the stink of the 2-stroke scooters, a bike silently glided by, and it was the first pedal electric I had ever seen. It was way cool, and I wanted one too.

Now those not so crazy Europeans have worked out that to ‘Amsterdamise’ or ‘Copenhagenise’ a city with good bike and bike/rail dual mode infrastructure is cheaper in the long run than building more roads and more car parks and adds to the quality of life of their citizens.  And it isn’t necessarily pedelecs they’re riding, but 25 million were sold this year. 24 million in China, and 1 million in the Netherlands or something like that. And they’re riding the new bike scheme bikes, and parking them outside stations and you can lead a whole life without a car.

Every day I get a ride in it makes me happy. Every time I’m caught in yet another SH1 induced traffic snarl it doesn’t.

“But Wellington ain’t Amsterdam”, I hear you say, and methinks you just lack a little imagination.

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