This year we introduced Project Watch, so you can stay up to date with the progress on cycling projects around the city. And now we’re proud to bring you Burbwatching – a monthly round up of Bike Burb action from all over Auckland. what better time to showcase what our local powerhouses are up to than right in the middle of Biketober! Over to our Community Activation Manager Anja to tell you all about it…
What are Bike Burbs?
Inspired by the idea of Auckland as a city of villages, Bike Burbs are grassroots local groups who come together around a vision of their neighbourhood as a bike-friendly place. Bike Burbs started sprouting up almost 10 years ago, with pioneering groups like Cycle Action Waiheke, Bike Te Atat? and Bike Devonport leading the way.
What these groups all have in common is the desire for local action and more bikeable neighbourhoods, right where they are. Bike Auckland coined the term “Bike Burb” and launched a programme to establish, support and build capacity for a network of Burbs across the region. Since then it’s been all go!
Fast forward to 2019 and we have over 20 Bike Burbs representing suburbs across the vast Auckland region. We’ve been working with the Burbs to help them set up, grow and connect with each other by developing resources like our Handbook, running meetups and working hand in hand with each Burb when they need us. And it’s a growing movement, with some Bike Burbs doubling in size in the last year, and 5 new Bike Burbs popping up in key areas in Auckland.
The largest groups are those that pre-date the Bike Burbs concept and have been working hard for years to connect the local community of people on bikes. With over 1000 interested Facebook members, Triple Teez in Mangere consistently demonstrates the huge appetite for better biking in the South, as well as the sheer charisma of Teau himself.
Hot on the heels of Triple Teez is Bike Te Atatu, another group who were established before our programme of support, and now act as a role model for the Burbs. They grow consistently every year and their long-held vision of Te Atatu peninsula as a model bikeable Burb and their creative events make them a driving force of local change and connection. On the other end of the scale, the newest Burbs like Bike Massey and Pahikara Clendon are just getting started – watch this space for growth in these areas.
What the Burbs do
Bike Burbs are out there running bike rides and events, advocating for great local routes, and connecting the community. This involves all sorts of things: family-friendly rides, bike swaps and fix-its, ‘bike-ifying’ local events, hands-on advocacy, sharing information and working with the local board, helping schools get back into biking, showing local business associations that bikes mean business, and giving in-the-know feedback on official plans in their local areas.
Spring is always a great time to (ahem) spring back into action. We had a great turn out of the Burbs at our AGM in August. Then in September, we ran our annual Bike Burb Hui, hosted by the recently reinvigorated Bike Avondale. People came from all over the city, from as far away as Waiheke, by ferry, train and the Waterview Path, for a hands-on gathering about building bike-friendly neighbourhoods.
It was a day to share ideas, actions, activities, and solutions. For example:
- Bike to Football, which helps free up Saturday streets in Pt Chev and Devonport.
- Bike Te Atat?’s “Buy-Cycle” photo contest which showcased all the people who shop by bike, and all the things they buy.
- Fun rides and events, like Bike Waiheke’s upcoming Festival of Cycling.
- Sharing info on bike-friendly candidates for Local Boards.
On that last note – the Burbs have been working on local election scorecards to help their members discern the bike-friendly candidates from the not-so-bike-friendly. You can see the results here, and if you’re reading this before noon on Saturday 12 October, you can still run out and vote at a library or council service centre.
Biketober in the Burbs!
In the next few weeks we have Burbs running a historical ride in Onehunga, a guided ride in Kaipatiki, a community catch up ride from the Burb with the best name – Bike Kumeunity, a celebration of movement and mental health with the Nutters Ride Together 1st birthday pootle, a big fix up day in Mt Roskill, a community play street in Pt Chev, and a whole festival of cycling on Waiheke. (Got an idea for a ride or event? It’s not too late to add to the calendar, if you feel inspired!)
We’re also running the first ever Bike Mayhem, which is us bringing our big bike party vibe, as seen in Bike Rave and other large-scale events, to the Burbs.
Bike Mayhem is a celebration of rad bike style, with our westie burbs planning to descend upon Henderson to join the fun. You’ll find us on Saturday 19 March, 11am – 3pm, in the carpark between the Falls Cafe and the roundabout at the bottom of Edmonton Road (where the EcoMatters Bike Hub is).
The Lowprofile Society will be there on the day displaying their wild stable of gorgeous chromed-up lowrider bikes – and we’ll have food, music, bike checks and free bike stuff. The pump track is already up and running, ready for you to give it a hoon on the day and/or get some practice in first! This is also a great opportunity to come and chat to some really active Burbs about what they’re up to.
Thanks for tuning in for this first ever Burbwatching update! We’ll be sharing the Bike Burb action regularly, so let us know what you think.
Keen to jump in on the Bike Burb action? Check out the map below, and contact your local Bike Burb via the list here. If you don’t see one where you are, but you’d like to start one or be connected with other interested bike peeps, then send me an email and we can chat.
— Anja Vroegop, Community Activation Manager for Bike Auckland