They’ve got the best name and an impressive membership already. Meet the newly formed ‘Bike Kumeunity’…
The small semi-rural district of Kumeu on the northwest edge of Auckland is composed of several small villages just a few kilometres apart from each other – highly scenic, relatively flat, and closely connected, at first glance it’s perfect for bike riding for fitness, transport and fun.
But those who currently cycle within and between the villages put their lives in others’ hands. The towns are bisected by busy state highways, and cyclists need not so much legs of steel, but nerves of iron to ride among the tens of thousands of cars and heavy trucks on local roads. And increasing urbanisation is bringing more challenges.
Enter Bike Kumeunity, which seeks to do exactly what the name suggests: build a bike community and civic unity amidst this rapid growth. Urbanisation can be a catalyst for transformation, says one of the group founders, long term resident and bike rider Christine Rose.
‘Growth brings more people, and that means more bikes, and more biking opportunities. We see this as a catalyst for safer walking and cycling, both within and between local towns and villages, and for safer connections to the rest of the regional cycling network.’
‘Our plan is to celebrate the joys and benefits of cycling in fun and creative ways, to encourage greater awareness of safe cycling routes, to support critical mass, and steadily build a Bike Community.’
The wheeled community-building is off to a flying start, with over a hundred members on the Facebook page. The first neighbourhood ride – on a gloomy day in May – attracted an impressive number of riders, aged three to 73, on all sorts of bikes, who set off from the Kumeu Arts Centre to explore the existing cycling infrastructure.
‘We also had a bike-delivery coffee cart along for the ride,’ says Christine, ‘showing the potential for an emerging bike economy. Our area is ripe for the creation of a bike culture – and Bike Kumeunity will help smooth the ride.’
Excited? Want to join a similar group in YOUR area, or create one if there isn’t one already? Have a look on our Bike Burbs resources page for help, or go straight to this page with a map of what’s already out there!