Miramar Peninsula is Ciclovia’s Valentine

Gabriel Ribeiro and partner SarahMiramar Peninsula will be closed to cars and open to people on Sunday 14th February when Wellington’s third annual Ciclovia event encourages locals, and visitors, to explore a beautiful area of the city in a whole new way.

The Miramar Peninsula will be closed to motorists between the north end of Shelly Bay and Scorching Bay allowing people of all ages to walk, cycle, skate, scooter and just explore the area in complete safety from 9am to 9pm. The roads to Shelly Bay and Scorching Bay will be open to ensure that people can still get to their favourite cafe or art gallery.

Ciclovia is now a regular summer event in Wellington. Last year it ran over three days and attracted up to 2500 people each day. This year the event is for one day, and will be on Valentine’s Day, 14th February.

A rapidly growing international phenomenon, Ciclovia started in Colombia (from where its name originates) in Bogata and has since spread throughout the world from downtown Los Angeles, to Melbourne, to Auckland and Wellington.

Miranda Struthers joined in last year’s fun with her husband and two young children. She said they loved having a safe, non-car space to enjoy the benefits of cycling together.

“Knowing that we’re guaranteed a safe ride through that wild, gorgeous coastal landscape is enough to motivate us to put on our cycling gear and get out there,” she said.

There is also plenty of room for people on mobility scooters and in wheelchairs. Skaters and skate-boarders have also joined past Cicolvias. It’s also a perfect time to explore the many rock pools along the coastline. Last year a seal spent some time entertaining the crowds.

Ciclovia organiser Ron Beernink said for the team of volunteers who make this event happen each year are motivated by seeing all sorts of people having fun.

“People don’t realise what is involved in making something like Ciclovia a success. Luckily we have a committee of enthusiastic volunteers. We have had to tackle a few challenges along the way.”

One of these is the potential impact on local businesses and the organisers have kept in close contact with them through the planning process.

“However, we have to ensure that at the same time people taking part in Ciclovia are able to share the road safely with motorists. Clear traffic signs and a 30km/hr speed restriction help, but we urge families to park at Scorching Bay. A shuttle bus will be on hand to transport people and bikes along Shelly Bay Road just south of the Miramar Cutting to Shelly Bay.”

Ciclovia is sponsored by the Wellington City Council through its Communities on Bikes fund.

This covers costs like traffic management, but a Give a Little fundraising campaign has been set up to address a shortfall.

“For an event like this to be successful, it needs all sorts of promotion, and that costs money,” said Ron. So while the event is free, he hopes that individuals and local businesses will make a donation.

Next summer Ciclovia may move to another part of Wellington. Options are closing Lambton Quay or another part of the South Coast. And hopefully Ciclovia will soon spread its wings to Porirua, the Kapiti Coast, and the Hutt Valley.

For more information, check out the www.ciclovia.org.nz website or Facebook page.