New Electric Bike Magazine

28 04 2011

Visit http://www.electricbikemag.co.uk/ for free pdf downloads of their first 3 issues starting from Issue 0

They review ebikes and ebike kits. I don’t think the magazine will be free forever, but these first issues are.

Worth a bit of a read if you are interested in electric bikes.





Musical Fences and Xylophone Bridges

28 04 2011

In the centre of Queensland is the somewhat unique town of Winton. Home to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum. It also has a musical fence, which amuses small minds, like mine:

In a similar vein, and somewhat inventively brilliant is the Xylophone Bridge, designed by Yeon Jae Won and Soo Jeong Hoo as part of the Seoul Cycle Design Competition 2010. Anyone reckon this’d be brilliant on the Wellington waterfront?

The magical equation is Bicycle + Bridge = Music

So you ride over wooden bits that hammer differently tuned bits of wood:

And they light up in different colours:

and lastly if you’ve ever watched Sigur Rós’s DVD called Heima then you might remember the brilliantly happy stone xylophone/marimba:





Melling Line Bus Replacement Replacement News

15 04 2011

Since the cluster-fluff of extending rail service to Waikanae, retimetabling for overcrowding and not introducing the Matangi trains on time, you all probably know by now that the Melling Line trains have been replaced by rail replacement buses, and are leaving from the dreaded platform 9 at Wellington Station. A double decker, some museum pieces from Foxton, and probably a mossy one from down the back of a Waikato dairy farm, have been dusted off and put into something akin to a service, and are ferrying poor commuters between Melling, Western Hutt and Wellington. As a result disgruntled commuters are finding other arrangements and the peak-hour commutes on the Hutt Road have become even worse than before.

To combat falling passenger numbers the Greater Wellington Regional Council has announced that the rail replacement buses are to be themselves replaced from May 1 with a wheelbarrow service.

The GWRC has ordered some fancy wheelbarrows from Korea, which were to be put into service back in February. Reports that the Korean wheelbarrows are not performing to expectations have been dismissed by the GWRC Chairwoman Wild Fruit Flan as “crap”. Their introduction onto the Melling route will be at a rate of 1 every 10 months starting in July and will be completely rolled out by the time New Zealand hosts the Rugby World Cup “next time round in 2027”. In the meantime the GWRC has hit the RD1 farm shop in Featherston and have bought up all its wheelbarrows, which wasn’t very many. Wild Flan says “there may be some initial overcrowding with two people having to ride in each wheelbarrow, plus the obligatory ticket collector, but if people don’t like it, then they can be the one to get out and push”.

Of course there is not really any safe way to push a wheelbarrow down the Hutt Road and into Wellington so as a priority the National Party, with it’s pro-cycling and pro-wheelbarrowing Transport Minister, Steven Joyce, has announced full funding to build the Great Harbour Way between Petone and Ngauranga.

However the GWRC and Metlink have advised that for any passengers originating in Melling and Western Hutt arriving at Petone with a wheelbarrow they can no longer accept wheelbarrows on board trains, unless they are folding wheelbarrows.

People pushing wheelbarrows on the Hutt Road are advised to watch out for people riding sack trucks thinking they are Segways, as those people need to be locked up.

In other news the NZTA has announced a survey into a $240 billion project to put wheelbarrow warning signs between Aotea Quay and Petone.

Also in an effort to protect it’s public transport revenues the GWRC has asked for help from truck drivers to run over anyone pretending to be a wheelbarrow, instead of their usual target, cyclists.

Wild Fruit Flan told us here at Wellington Regional Cycleways that “With all these great public transport initiatives Wellington will once again be known internationally as the greatest city in the world,” but that remains doubtful with the council so far unsuccessfully implementing its projects to replace the Wellington Cable Car with an egg beater and a piece of string, and the Days Bay Ferry with a fleet of swan-shaped pedalos.





We can’t build our way out of congestion

11 04 2011

On a day when the NZTA has been accused of bullying it is perhaps time to comment on the NZTA’s call for public comments on the section of State Highway 1 between Aotea Quay and Ngauranga. Does anyone know what they are trying to justify for that section of road? I’ve commented before on this section of motorway when I heard they were going to spend another $29 million dollars on usurping the emergency stopping lanes on this post here.

Empty motorway as it is for 22 hours each day.

Please answer the call of the NZTA’s survey and tell them what you think. Tell them that it is a waste of money to build extra elevated lanes of motorway. Tell them that it is probably a good idea to fund alternatives to driving into the city. Say we need decongestion charges. Say we need taxes on CBD car-parks. Tell them we need the Great Harbour Way. Tell them not to waste our money.





Adelaide to Darwin on a Kalamazoo

10 04 2011

Apparently if you’re going from Darwin to Adelaide you go by unicycle, but if you are going the other way, then of course you take a kalamazoo. What’s a kalamazoo? Well they’re mentioned on my previous post Railcycles Past and Present.

See the ABC news video here. See the Kalamazoo Crossing website here. This one is in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Good luck to all involved. Say g’day to the unicyclists if you see them.

 





Crazy unicyclists crossing Australia

5 04 2011

Here at the Wellington Region Cycleway blog I can say I am pretty fond of the nutters nice people who decide to cross a continent on a bike, or on foot, or on a pogo stick or whatever. I liked the Wind Explorers, and I liked Southam Cycles South. And Guim is still going strong on his Electric Bicycle World Tour. I even have my own claim to fame, as I have walked all the way south-north across Tasmania (a long time ago).

However I’m still waiting for someone to travel in a portaloo towed behind the Goodie’s trandem from Yeppoon to Innaloo.

I might be waiting a long time, but in the interim I learnt of the UniTramps who are unicycling from Darwin to Adelaide, which seems just as mad. They’re already a good few hundred kilometres south of Darwin. Good luck for the rest of the trip Sman and David. You’re dead set legends.





Micro-ferries for Porirua Harbour

4 04 2011

It seems Wellington Region’s public transport system is falling apart, with the GWRC busily working out how to shed hard-earned ridership, when it should be doing the opposite. So it hardly seems a good time to suggest extra services to be run, but surely someday they’ll get their act together.

A recent post on Human Transit about Vancouver’s micro-ferries got me thinking. (False Creek Ferries’ website) I do think Wellington’s water transport options are underdeveloped suggesting here about ferry services to Evan’s Bay and the Miramar Peninsula, and for a cycleway to Palmie a cycle ferry across the Manawatu.

I also think that on the recently renamed Kapiti Line there is a gap between Porirua and Paremata that should be filled with a new train station at Aotea, near the end of Whitford Brown Avenue, and there is that open little stretch of mostly flat and protected water over to Onepoto Park in Titahi Bay and I thought it would be nice, but maybe uneconomic to run a ferry between such a train station and the Onepoto bit of Titahi Bay. I hadn’t figured on the micro-ferries. The ones in use in Vancouver are 12 passenger electric boats with one skipper/operator. A 12 seater ferry meeting the trains and shuttling back and forth, now that would be quite good.

It reminds me a bit (only a bit) of the abras crossing the creek between Dubai and Deira in the U.A.E. They carry a few more than 12 passengers and have outboards but are the same kind of idea.

And then there are probably a few places around the Porirua and Pauatahanui inlets that could link either to a small wharf at a new Aotea station, or to a small wharf just north of Paremata station between the rail and road bridges, down near the rail bridge on the left in this photo.

It would be a pleasant way to travel. Walking down to the inlet, catching a micro-ferry to the wharf and catching the trains into town. It’s got to be better than going on a circuitous route through the back blocks of Whitby by bus.

Small micro-ferries could go to Takapuwahia and Onepoto from Aotea Station and from Paremata to somewhere in Camborne, near the end of Postgate Drive and near the end of James Cook Drive. A ferry able to take some larger waves could link up Paremata Station and the Plimmerton Boat Club. In the photo below a small wharf could be built past the boathouses near where there is pedestrian access down from Penryn Drive.

A map gimp-shotted from Google of what I’m talking about:

The rationale behind all this is that small local feeder services provide extra passengers at the train stations such that with extra ridership the train frequencies could be upped to 4 or 6 trains an hour instead of the current 2*. It’s a bit like the aerial gondola suggested on this post between Ngaio and Churton Park. It puts more people within walking distance of a part of the linked up network, and keeps people out of their cars.

 

*Train frequencies including day time and weekends (but not necessarily late night) should be a minimum 4 trains per hour on the Kapiti and Upper Hutt Lines. That is a target of service level we can only dream of the GWRC getting anywhere near.