The two big gaps in NZ’s urban cycling infrastructure are Wellington’s Petone-Thorndon sorry apology for a bike path, and the complete lack of a cycling route across Auckland Harbour.
I’m a Westie by birth (though I escaped before black singlets, mullets and V8 Holdens became compulsory). From our farm in the Waitakeres I watched the Harbour Bridge being built, so when I heard that there was going to be a legal bike ride over the bridge, I signed up to do the 15Km ClipOn ride.
Turned out that four thousand or so cyclists had the same idea, so 7am on Sunday morning saw us all jammed into Shelly Beach Road, waiting for to be one of the groups of 50 at a time released onto the two western lanes of the bridge (the “Nippon Clip-On”). Despite the wait, every one was cheery – even the residents who realised there was no point in taking their cars out of their driveways through the throng of cyclists.
The ride itself was a breeze – literally so, though the Wellington style wind was partly broken by the line of buses placed to avoid any unfortunate contact between North Shore commuters and intrepid cyclists. The slope on both sides was quite manageable – nothing like Ngauranga Gorge. We got a run up the busway to Constellation drive to clock up the full 15km, then presented with a fine metal medallion – likely to be a collectors item when a permanent cycle path makes the crossing routine.
Talking of which, at the finish line I ran into Bevan Woodward of GetAcross and local body politician Christine Rose, prime movers in the campaign to get a cycle path onto the bridge. The elegant GetAcross shirts were worn by many supporters of a permanent cycle route – let’s hope it’s not too long before this happens.
Wellington’s own Gap is in the Hutt Corridor Plan for fixing – but we’ll need to keep the pressure on to get a solution actually constructed.
A few more photos of the event are on Flickr…