Roger Geller invitation

I can’t go to this, but I hope you will.

Roger Geller is the Bicycle Co-ordinator for the City (i.e. the Council) of Portland. That mild title belies his effectiveness in leading Portland’s transformation into one the the USA’s top transport cycling cities.

To give you some idea of just how good a job he’s doing, Portland has approximately 580,000 residents, about 1/3 more than Wellington. That should put the following set of figures into perspective.

Portland’s economy is benefiting from the cycling focus to the tune of US$90 million every year. They’re on track to save $400 million in healthcare costs (now that would be a nice chunk out of our taxes), and on the tourism side 78% of visitors said Portland’s bike-friendliness contributed to their decision to travel there. And that doesn’t even start to describe how nice it is to live there.

I’m really pleased to see that Wellington City Council are involved in his visit. That bodes very well for the future.

New look for the new year

Last year Cycling in Wellington won a Cycle Aware Wellington Roll on Wellington award in the Best Improvement category. That was, of course, awesome.

I got to thinking, though. The award certificate was made out to the Cycling in Wellington blog, and, while I guess CiW is a blog, that’s not actually what I intended when I started it.

I wanted a site where new or tentative riders could find out about how to ride in a dress, or whether it’s safe to ride on the road. I also wanted the site to be an aggregator of high-quality information, particularly for decision-makers ranging from local organisations to transport and health planners to central government budget-setters. And finally I wanted it to be a place to build community.

We’re doing the third one pretty well, but I never really got a structure in place that would make the first two work. This is where the new theme comes in.

The site is A Work in Progress and will be for a while. Just like we’re not going to get a perfect cycling environment overnight, we won’t have a perfect site starting today. But we’ll get there.

The deal is that all new content will go on the image slider at the top left. For everyone who comes here just to read the blog, that’s the place to look for updates. You can also click on the Latest tab at the top of the page, and we will probably keep a Latest column on the front page somewhere.

Each post will also go into another category. All the categories can be found on the front page, and also in the category bar at the top. If you have a particular interest in a category you can go straight there. This ought to make the information more accessible. Currently it’s really not.

There will be ads appearing on the site for bike-friendly businesses. I’m not going to charge for this ad space, so if you’d like to advertise or you know a potential advertiser, get in touch. Cyclingwgtn, gmail, etc. This is primarily a transport cycling site, so priority will be given to transport cycling-related ads. But there’s room for any cycle-friendly organisation.

The categories may change and evolve. Eventually all the pages in the page bar will be rejuvenated as well. For now, though, have a look around. Make yourself at home. Tell us what you think of our new look for the new year.

Image credit: Richard Masoner

Cycle culture vs infrastructure?

I’ve been noticing lately that a lot of things are being framed as a dichotomy. For example, a post appeared on Cycling in Auckland a while ago that drew heated debate. Its premise was that, if you’re trying to get more people on bikes, the current focus on infrastructure is pretty well pointless and we should be trying to develop a bike culture instead.

So is it really a question of one or the other?

Here’s what I think. If I look back on my own experience of starting to ride again, it was bike culture that caught my attention and it was infrastructure that convinced me to do it.

In – I think – May 2010 the Dominion Post ran a two-page spread in their lifestyle pull-out featuring Mamachari bikes, Laurie Foon and a whole lot of other cycle chic stuff. Until then I hadn’t really considered that I might be able to cycle with my clothes on. I’d assumed skirts and dresses couldn’t be done, and for someone who’s rarely in anything else that was a big deal.

I already had an exceptionally stylish friend who rode everywhere, so I met up with him and we talked about bikes and clothes and what might be possible. He pointed out that my home was at one end of the waterfront and my work was at the other, so if I wanted to bike my commute I’d be as safe as houses.

About a month later I saw a bike on Trade Me, and, loving its look but knowing nothing whatsoever about it’s quality, took the plunge and bought it. My friend came around, checked everything was working and took me for a ride along the waterfront.

I loved it! I felt so safe, but I also felt like I was floating. I refused to go home after our first venture up Oriental Bay and back, so we went exploring along the waterfront right up to the concourse at Westpac Stadium.

Having those twin pillars of culture and infrastructure made all the difference for me, so I don’t think I can buy in to any debate that holds one above the other. We need them both if we’re going to make cycling ordinary.

Image credit: Patrick Morgan

It’s the economy… stupid?

The more I look at bike-related stuff, the more I come to understand that riding bikes is about economics – and not just in terms of Nga Haerenga-type cycle tourism or saving yourself a few bucks on petrol.

Like so much of the burgeoning bike-promotion information, this infographic is American-centric. It has plenty of application here though. While we’re not in quite the same depth of trouble economically, we’ve got plenty of economic challenges of our own. One of those is the health dollar.

With 63% of us reported to be overweight and obese, our health spend is not going to get smaller. In fact it’s going to go through the roof. Those are your tax dollars, folks – and it’s your quality of life.

Now, everyone knows that moving more makes your life better. Less heart disease, less diabetes  and my goodness if those don’t happen to be two of the top expenditures in our health system.

So how about directing some more of our tax and rates dollars towards making it the easiest thing in the world to ‘take a seat’. I want bikes to be the most obvious option for nipping down to the dairy, going to work, or taking the kids to school.

What I don’t want is to be spending my tax dollars on amubulance-at-the-bottom-of-the-cliff rubbish. That’s economically stupid.

Biking And Health
Created by: Healthcare Management Degree

Vote Bike for Wellington

Unity has had this really good idea for Auckland. I rather think Wellington deserves some too. If the following sounds good to you, click the link and add some weight.

I want to be able to ride my bike around Wellington and feel safe and accepted; I want children to be able to ride their bikes to school; I want cycling to be mainstream; I want riding a bicycle to be a simple, practical choice for my friends, family and whanau.

The Vote Bike for Wellington petition is now live. Spread the word!

The rockstars are coming!

Yes, Wellingtonians, it’s true. Russ and Laura from PathLessPedaled are making their way to Wellington for some biking journalism on assignment from Bicycle Times and Adventure Cycling. They’ll be looking at cycling culture and bicycle tourism while they’re here, so if you’d like to chat with them about what you’re doing or seeing or loving drop us a line at cyclingwgtn at gmail.

Here’s the first installment of their NZ adventure. Full respect for getting off their 13 hour flight and straight on their bikes – I could barely walk after a 10 hour flight from Malaysia, let alone ride!

 

Kiwi Chronicles Ep1: To the Edge of the World – PathLessPedaled.com from Russ Roca on Vimeo.

Dear Frockers – Happy Summer!

Dear Frockers – Happy Summer!

It’s been a great year, topped off by the amazing night that was Wheel Stylish 2011 (captured by the talented Dominika Zielinska – see photos here and here) and a Youtube video getting its finishing touches – out soon!

We had our final Street Skills workshop for 2011 on 10th December, so over-subscribed we had to get extra trainer power!-  and now… it’s the holidays.  Whoopeeeee!

Frocks On Bikes is looking forward to a frockin’ great summer of two-wheeling fun. Like everyone else we’re going to pack a swimsuit, bottle of wine and a frisbee into the panniers, pump our tyres and head outta town over the Christmas holidays. 

However we’re back on the road with you in the New Year, celebrating the warmer weather and the liberty, fun and fabulosity of getting around on stylishly on two wheels. 

And We Want You!  Frocks On Bikes has had a fantastic 2011, taking our events up a gear and getting slicker, better-funded and generally more professional.  2012 will be a great time to realise some of your great ideas and turn your talents into tangible goodness!  We’re in a position to consider some (gasp!) paid hours, which is a great novelty – though like everything we do, it’s about the Love!

So, get in touch (frocksonbikes, gmail) to be a proper part of the amazing phenomenon that is Frocks On Bikes.  We’re poised to add more cool things if we have the Frocker-power to run them (you’ll remember we all have full-time jobs) so let’s turn your ideas and your summer energy into super-cool events!

And while you’re thinking which ways you can help Frocks rock, grab a pen and get these dates into your 2012 diaries! We will be sending reminder emails about all these as they come up. 

For your enjoyment our summer 2012 programme (so far) boasts: 

  • Sunday 14th January – a Frock-nic in the lovely Wairarapa 
  • Two Street Skills workshops – scheduled for Saturdays 21st January  – & 25th February after Love To Roll 
  • Sunday 12th February – Love To Roll – the celebrated Valentine’s date ride celebrating summer, love and cycling 
  • Thursday 23rd February – A Summer Evening Ride 
  • Saturday 17th March – a Street Skills workshop 
  • A Road Rights & Responsibilities bar evening – date and venue TBC.  

We wish you all a frockin’ great summer, safe and happy riding, and we’ll see you looking fabulous on the road in 2012

Bella, Christina and Leah

Happy Frocktober, frockstars!

You can tell it’s Spring – gorgeous cheap veges and fruit are appearing in the market, daylight saving and (periodically) better weather are here, and everyone’s out on the street a bit more – and not just for the World Cup shenanigans!

You can tell it’s Frocktober and the start of the Frocking season because there’s a surge in stylish women accessorising with a bike, and also because the Frocks Mothership crew are donkey-deep in the fervour of organising that marks every Frocktober!

We’ve an amazing calendar of good times coming up for your enjoyment.

The BIGGEST THING is Wheel Stylish.  It’s totally unique – a full runway show of the hottest New Zealand fashion, on wheels!

Mark your diaries: Wheel Stylish, Thursday 17th November – it’s the place to see and be seen!

See photos of the 2010 Wheel Stylish.

 

But between now and then:

Sunday 30th October: 

Frocktober in the Hutt: Pedalling to the Dowse

Hutt Frocks On Bikes celebrate Frocktober!

Join our sisters to the north for a ride along the Hutt River Trail and a visit to Scott Eady’s 100 Bikes Project: Part 1 – an amazing interactive exhibition featuring 100 restored bikes – and you can even plant some sunflowers when you get to The Dowse!

Meet at the Riverbank carpark at 1pm.         RSVP on the Facebook event

In Wellington city:

Get Out There festival day – see the Council’s website for the fun, free activities.  The Mayor will be welcoming a donation of 100 bikes from Beijing to the city of Wellington for Wellingtonians to use!

Thursday 20th and Thursday 27th Frocktober

Frocktober Evening Rides! 

Celebrate the long and lovely evenings – and show off our style in motion.  Rendez-vous with us at 6.30pm by the main Hole in the Wharf (by Te Papa) for a leisurely evening spin along the waterfront  – wherever we feel like going on the day, with refreshment stops at the bar, cafe and or ice-cream parlour that takes our fancy.

 

 6th November

An idyllic Frock-nic!

It’s so simple it’s genius: combine tasty food, great company, Wellington’s lovely outdoors and the convenience of two wheels, and the result: a great picnicking time!

Whip up something tasty to bring, pop your sunglasses on and join the cruise to a delightful spot, and enjoy good times and a great shared lunch. More info to come!

 

12th November 

Street Skills workshop – Intermediate riders

It’s a great time to sharpen your bike-handling and defensive riding skills so you can keep your poise in Welly’s exciting roads.  Join the small class (max. 6) enjoying three hours of tailored training from our expert road skills trainers for only $30!

RSVP by emailing frocksonbikes@gmail.com with “Street Skills” in the subject line.

 

and remember: Thursday 17th November is…

Wheel Stylish! 

It’s the event of the season: a full runway fashion show, all on bikes, of Wellington’s and New Zealand’s finest designers.  Wheel Stylish will be a fabulous evening with featuring the best in sustainable food and wine for your enjoyment. 

Mark your diaries!  This will be an exclusive event with limited numbers.

 

Happy Frocktober – see you on the road!
— 
Love from Frocks On Bikes