How 2km of concrete has changed one family’s life

How 2km of concrete has changed one family’s life

Bike Auckland

Charmaine, who blogs as ‘Buzzy in the Burbs‘, is keen to inspire others to get out and explore far and wide, be it on foot or bike. She shares with us how her family has fallen in love with the new cycleway in their back yard…

Who would have thought 2km of concrete would change the way my family and I exercise? Well, the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive Cycle Path (Te Ara ki Uta ki Tai) has done just that, with the arrival of the first 1.7km-long stage of what will soon be a great pathway from the eastern suburbs to the city.

I have always enjoyed exercising, and BC (Before Children) my husband and I enjoyed running and mountain biking together. Once we had children I wasn’t sure how exercise was going to fit into my life…  but found I could spend many a happy hour pushing my children around the neighbourhood in the pushchair.

Fast forward a few years and the whole family was training to walk the 20km Tongariro Crossing. I found I enjoyed training with the family as much as I enjoyed walking the Crossing itself. Around the same time, we started mountain biking with the kids, and have spent many happy hours in the Rotorua Redwoods forest. Rain or shine, it’s a great place to ride.

To be honest, I’m a mountain biker through and through, and I wasn’t that interested in the cycle paths around Auckland, apart from a couple of rides along the Northwestern Cycleway while training for the Timber Trail. All of that changed when we got our own local cycle path. Well, obviously not just for us – I mean, when the eastern cycle pathway opened in our neighbourhood.

I was keen to check out the new bit of pathway as soon as it opened, so I walked it with my mother and four children on scooters, and our love of that piece of concrete began.

Before long, the kids and I were checking out the cycle path on a regular basis. They ride their bikes, and I run. I love that it’s right on our doorstep, I don’t have to worry about the kids being on the road for a large part of our run and ride together, and I love that we are all getting out in the fresh air and moving our bodies together.

The kids always find something interesting to look at along the way, and the views from the St Johns end of the track are stunning. My son and I also discovered a great new loop using the cycle path to connect to Merton Rd and ending up in the Stonefields wetlands area.

For some reason, the path has undulations in the concrete surface. They would be most annoying if you are a commuter cyclist using the path every day, and my son trying to clock 50km/hr on the downhill (good luck, kiddo!) doesn’t like them one bit. Also, when running it’s a bit unnerving when you scuff the bottom of your shoe on the ridges and nearly stumble. Glad to hear AT has advised they are re-assessing the usefulness of the undulations and hopefully they’ll get fixed.

The steps on the Gi-Tamaki path…

We now eagerly await the next section of the eastern cycle pathway to connect us to the Orakei Basin boardwalk. We will be able to explore so much more territory… and who knows what new urban adventures await?

The path is a safe way to get your kids into cycling although if they are total beginners a big grassy field might be a good place to start. Here are our tips for enjoying a shared path in your neighbourhood:

  • An off-road path is a safe way to get your kids into cycling – although if they’re total beginners, you can start with a big grassy field. Check out these other great places to ride with kids.
  • A bell on your bike is a definite must, especially when kids on bikes are sharing a shared path with people walking and jogging and other kinds of active travel.
  • Say hello to everyone you see along the way – wouldn’t it be nice if that strip of concrete brought our community closer together?

You can read more of Charmaine’s family adventures at her blog Buzzy in the Burbs (find great bike stories in the outdoors adventures section here) – or find her on Facebook and Instagram.

For a related story about cycleways in your backyard, and the special importance of local connections when it comes to the next stage of the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive Path, read A Tale of Two Paths.


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