Biking: It’s not just for weekends

The new hotrod in the fam. He's heavy and fast.

A lovely trip around the Bays today brought me in contact with a veritable parade of other riders. I saw a smiling dad providing ample cushion to his confident but small daughter as they pedaled past Scorching Bay. I smiled at Patrick as he rolled by Queen Sally’s. I felt the urgent breath of competition on my neck as roadies overtook me. Woosh. There were a lot of us out there today and it was a lovely damn day for it. Thanks Wellington! And a loud ‘ta’ to the drivers as well who seemed particularly committed to the easy Sunday drive.

As I hunker down for the evening, I’m thinking about the difference between the weekend ride and the Monday morning commute. I have a hypothesis based on personal experience: if you pretend the morning commute is just a Sunday ride, and, not forgetting to get on your bike to make the journey, you opt to hear the crackle and roll of tires on the road instead of the cackle and moan of morning radio, who’s to say you won’t feel just as footloose and free for the rest of the day– maybe the week– as you felt on Sunday afternoon? I saw you out there today, Wellington bike riders! You were loving it. You can love it all week long, if you let yourself.

As you ponder the possibilities of morning rides, consider the following video:

That there is a pretty medley of Copenhagen’s rush hours. I’m particularly in love with the legal priority for riders over drivers looking to turn.  I, uh, believe that’s a Porsche yielding to bikes at 1:34.

They say the best way to improve the driver awareness of riders (thus, to improve safety) is to reach a critical mass of riders, which, apparently, only means about 3% of the transport mode share.  So, hey kids!  Let’s ride on Mondays like we do on Sundays.  (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are acceptable as well.  Saturdays, maybe take your skateboard out.)

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2 thoughts on “Biking: It’s not just for weekends

  1. Simon Kennett

    This post really got me thinking…
    Alastair Woodward did a presentation last year about his research into the safety-in-numbers effect for cyclists in NZ. It only seemed to be happening in Nelson, if anywhere.

    In Wellington we’ve seen an increase in cycling for 20 years and a decrease in cycling safety per million km travelled. That was the picture up until about 2008, anyway. Last year cycle commuting in early March in Wellington was up to about 4% mode share! But, I remember Patrick hypothesising that we wouldn’t see a safety-in-numbers effect until we reached 5%.

    Some people think we need to have decent off-road facilities to get the masses taking up cycling (I agree, that or a major oil shock). But when people desert the streets for off-road facilities that doesn’t help with driver awareness, right?

    Maybe not. Woodward was hinting at a correlation between safety and the average hours spent cycling per capita for any given region. By getting masses of people out cycling, on or off road, we generate greater sympathy for cyclists in the collective consciousness. It’s an interesting theory, although it still hasn’t worked for Wellington yet. There’s a tipping point somewhere, and given that Nelson appears to have reached it, we can’t be too far off, right?

    Like

  2. I’m doing some work around the tipping point at present. Interesting stuff and perfectly achievable with good leadership. Will post when I have something… postable.

    Like

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