Call me a dork but I love any scheme that promotes buddy-dom. Buddies usually become friends, you know. At least, if you properly care for them, they do. Not like the swim buddy I had who bailed on me two kilometers into our course. That buddy is not a friend. He’s just some dude who swims even faster than he promises to be a buddy. Lame.
But here’s something that’s not lame: Greater Wellington has a Bike Buddy program to encourage new, inexperienced or (ahem) off-the-pace riders to get back in the saddle with the support and encouragement of a willing and capable new pal. The pal is called a Bike Mentor, but I think buddy works equally well for both players.
According to the material I received in the mail today, Bike Buddies began in 2010 to match experienced riders with others who might have forgotten where they put their bikes a few years or decades back. So, if you’re someone who just found your bike and, after giving it a quick tune and some air, want to give it a go, consider signing up for a buddy. Or, if you’re someone who rides frequently and you’re willing to divulge all your favorite routes and secret shortcuts (which really shouldn’t be secret if they’re so great– I mean, maybe you want to throw us all a bone, huh?), then you too should get with the program.
When you sign up online, regardless of the side of the buddy equation you represent, you’ll tell Greater Wellington about the times of your commute, the ideal destination (or at least, the location of your job) and the routes you’d like to take. For example, let’s say you’re a daily commuter to the CBD from Lyall Bay. You stick your times of travel into the survey so when someone else, let’s say from Kilbirnie, is looking for a confident companion to teach the routes into town, you might get a call to start cruising into town with a new rider.
Buddies are encouraged to plan their routes together and try a dummy run in off-peak hours. I’d wager that the first ride you take will have you looking forward to your Monday commute way more than … well, Monday. And although the scheme was designed to help potential cycle commuters ease their concerns on the road and develop their comfort and routine, the program may also be able to pair folks up for other cycle journeys. Plus, when you sign up, you get a bunch of fun goodies from Claire, the Greater Wellington Sustainable Transport Planner. Thanks, Claire, GWRC and Wellington City Council! I love my puncture repair kits and my high vis bag cover! Woot! I’m also happy to have my very own copy of The Official New Zealand Code for Cyclists. (I didn’t realize that sidecars on bikes are not allowed. Code doesn’t say anything about the Conference Bike though!) Speaking of Conference Bike, it’d be cool to grab a whole mess of buddies and cruise to work on one of those. I call dibs on the backwards seat!
Go get yourself a buddy! And then, let’s ride!