What might a bikeable village look like? Simon Vincent from Bike Te Atatu reports on his township’s recent makeover and exciting future possibilities for Auckland’s model bike-friendly ‘burb:
“For what is a cyclist, if he is not a postman who dreams of being a gypsy?”
The above (possibly unanswerable) question comes from the highly entertaining book One More Kilometre and We’re in the Showers by Tim Hilton, about the history of cycling and the author’s upbringing as the son of British Communists. Hilton describes how a background amongst the practically minded working-class men and women of local cycling clubs gave him a lifelong love of the “culture of the bike”.
I plough a fairly singular genre when it comes to reading – you will almost always find me in the 900s, History and Geography. And cycling is always well represented; be it Dervla Murphy’s tales of intrepid touring, or biographies of the great racers. Bikes and books have always gone together for me – maybe because as a schoolchild from the country, it was always a ride into town that gave me access to the local library.
The newly reopened Te Atatu Peninsula Library and Community Centre is a great space to sit and soak in the written word (or grab a DVD, Audio Book or access an online magazine). Talk about “indoor-outdoor flow”: the library is a large open space with giant windows opening onto a deck that gives instant access to a playground and a park. Parents can keep an eye on kids playing whilst they browse the aisles, while children dash happily between books, computers, and community centre displays and activities.
For me and my family, we enjoy our rides into the village, and visiting local cafés or shops is always part of our trip. Going at a riding or walking pace seems to transform even the most basic of errands into an outing rather than a chore.
Bike Te Atatu’s vision is to make our neighbourhood even more welcoming to cyclists and walkers. Many local businesses are supporting this by offering discounts to those that arrive by bicycle. As we are easily linked to the rest of Auckland by the NW Cycleway, Te Atatu is a great place to ride to. The Peninsula has a number of great cafés, and the walkways give stunning views of the city and the harbour.
Come visit soon, and discover a corner of Auckland that’s a model for bike-friendly and walk-friendly suburbs.
Check out this fantastic “future-mentary” by Jemma Nissen & Bike Te Atatu. In just three minutes, it shows what a bike-friendly ‘burb would look like, given a quick funding boost and community buy-in. Could it work in your neighbourhood?
Bryce describes the making of that mini-documentary here, if you fancy giving it go. If you do, let us know!
Also, got stories of bikes and books? Tell us below!