Never Too Old – taking a spin with the YMCA

Never Too Old - taking a spin with the YMCAOn a sunny Thursday in February, I took a spin around the city and out along Tamaki Drive with a group of senior Aucklanders on bikes, the first in a series of planned monthly rides. The convivial group has emerged from the city branch of the YMCA’s Never2Old fitness programme, under the guidance of Clare Lynch, with some helpful e-bike training along the way. The group has a ‘no rider left behind’ policy, and the rides are organized along safe routes at comfortable speeds, and culminate in an enjoyable lunch. I’d only intended to meet the group on Lightpath and say hello, but found myself zooming down Grafton Gully and then biking round the waterfront, hanging …
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Three questions for your bike mechanic: Sergio Ibanez  

Three questions for your bike mechanic: Sergio Ibanez   Sergio Ibanez is the mechanic at one of Auckland’s most-recognised bike shops, Bike Barn on the corner of Symonds Street and Khyber Pass Road. Originally from Madrid, Sergio knows bikes inside out – he’s competed on them, repaired them and has even managed a race team. Who better to answer three questions about feeding and watering one’s bicycle? Ross Inglis poses the questions: What’s the difference between a bike service and an overhaul, and how do I know which my bike needs? A bike service can include adjusting brakes or gears if they are not working properly, replacing broken parts or greasing your wheel hubs. An overhaul is much more …
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Photo of the week: Casual

Photo of the week: CasualCasual [noun]: 1. Dress or footwear for everyday, non-formal use. 2. A person who does something now and then. [adjective] 1. Relaxed and unbothered. 2. Informal in style. 2. By chance, as in an unplanned meeting. When you bump into the Mayor at a festival in the park, and he admires your basket bikes and summer frocks/ jumpsuits and is genuinely interested in ‘how you bike dressed like that’ … and then casually drops into the conversation that he’s loving using the Council’s fleet of electric bikes for zipping from meeting to meeting in town. If you have great images you’d like to propose for photo of the week, please contact us!
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Three questions for your bike mechanic: Tim White

Three questions for your bike mechanic: Tim WhiteTim White is, not surprisingly, the owner of T. Whites Bikes, the indie bike shop in Symonds Street, as well as a rad dad, and (with Haimona Ngata) is aiming to bring a high quality pump track to Takapuna. Ross Inglis asked Tim three very good questions: I’m looking for a second-hand commuter bike and don’t want to buy a lemon. What should I look for? The most common problem is buying the wrong size. Have a look at a size chart to get a rough idea; it does not have to be an exact fit –  something in the vicinity will still work for you. Also look for a tidy machine – a bike with clean …
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Go By Bike Day – local edition

Go By Bike Day – local editionSometimes we go out looking for photo opportunities…and sometimes they come to us. Today was Go By Bike Day. Alas, I missed the chance to grab a coffee at the nearby Unitec pit stop, but clearly it was a fun and busy morning – with some legends going out of their way to ‘collect the set’ by visiting all three pit stops before 9am! As AT’s Walking, Cycling & Road Safety Manager Kathryn King said (per AT’s press release): ‘I could see the difference a year has made to the numbers cycling. Figures we put out from our annual walking and cycling survey in August 2016 showed that in the previous 12 months, 45,000 more Aucklanders have been getting …
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Three Questions for your Bike Mechanic

Three Questions for your Bike MechanicTim Welch runs Rode, an independent bike shop in Ponsonby that bills itself as ‘not your ordinary bike shop’. Think niche brands like Surly and Breezer, steel frames, touring bikes and custom builds. Oh, and lots of electric bikes. We asked Tim three questions. I’m shopping for an electric bike. What questions should I ask when I’m in the bike shop? Definitely look at, and ask about, the overall quality of the e-bike rather than just focusing on the size of the battery and the power of the motor. Just because a bike has more powerful motor does not make it a better bike. Also ask, are there parts available …
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Three Questions for Your Bike Mechanic

Three Questions for Your Bike MechanicAn occasional series in which Auckland bike mechanics tell you what they’re really thinking. Got thoughts, keen to be featured? Or, do you have questions you’d love to ask a bike mechanic? Get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. Wander into Rouleur Cycles in Onehunga’s Selwyn Street and there’s a good chance that the chap greeting you from the depths of the workshop will be Cam Baker. Cam, 22, is the lead mechanic in what is both a friendly neighbourhood bike shop and a Mecca for devotees of high-end road machinery. Ross Inglis asked him three quick questions… Which three most basic tools would you recommend to anyone planning …
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Riding to Radiation – An Unexpected Commute

Riding to Radiation - An Unexpected CommuteThere’s a saying along these lines: ‘Be kind – for everyone you meet is facing a challenge you know nothing about.’ It popped into our minds when a reader sent us the following description of an unexpected commute. ‘M’ prefers to remain anonymous, but we hope her story strikes a chord with everyone who bikes… and with every driver in Auckland who sometimes feels impatient on the road. In June this year, after a routine mammogram, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. At the time, I was getting fit to go on a cycling holiday – a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Iceland. That all fell through. The week before I would have been riding through a …
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The Lithium-powered Space Bike

The Lithium-powered Space BikeThomas Lumley is a statistician at the University of Auckland, and co-edits the StatsChat blog. He also rides an electric bike to work most days. Here, he interviews himself about how it’s going so far. (Reposted with permission from Thomas’s Tumblr). Q: So, it’s been about 11 months since you got your fancy electric-assist bike. A: Yes, that’s right. Q: Have you given up yet? A: No, it’s still fun. Q: Even with the rain? A: Combining Doppler radar and the detailed weather forecasts has mostly kept me dry. Q: And getting killed by cars? A: So far, still at less than 1 event. Q: How do you feel about busy two-lane roundabouts? A: I …
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Riding in Auckland traffic – tips from a new arrival

Riding in Auckland traffic - tips from a new arrivalSome say vehicular cycling – i.e. riding your bike as if you were driving a car – is  going out of style as cities start building off-road cycleways and protected bike lanes. And it’s true that better bike infrastructure is attracting many who would never have dreamed of riding on the road. One third of those using London’s new bike facilities are newbies – which matches the numbers for our own Grafton Gully cycleway. But we all know it takes time (plus serious budget, popular goodwill, and strong political commitment) to make a city fully bike-friendly for every journey. So, in the meantime, thousands of Aucklanders on bikes are out there every day amongst traffic – because it’s the only way to get where they’re going on two wheels.  Lephi Peneha (31), …
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Deaf adventures on wheels – a sign of the times

Deaf adventures on wheels – a sign of the timesAt the Great Auckland Bike Market in June, you might have spotted an adventurous group of riders talking to each other in NZ Sign Language. Christopher Dempsey caught up with them to find out how far they’d come…   The Deaf Outdoor Adventures Club is one of a number of different groups within the Auckland Deaf Society, based in Balmoral, that cater to the interests of Deaf and hearing friends, the signing community in Auckland. ADS promotes an inclusive and open membership that New Zealand Sign Language, one of the country’s three official languages, is a core feature to bring all people together. The club runs a range of activities for …
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50+ Shades of Grey – beyond the surface

50+ Shades of Grey - beyond the surfaceOur resident storyteller Simon Vincent discovers that riding round the city stimulates thoughts on a whole spectrum of brilliant possibilities… I love the views I get from riding my bike: I see the city laid out before me, I see flora and fauna, I see history, I see weird and wonderful, and I see people. Sometimes, though, I just see the path ahead – the grey stretches out in front of me taking me toward my destination. As my wheels spin, so too does the old grey matter. And often it is the grey matter that I’m riding on that guides my thoughts. The average ride in Auckland takes you on …
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Meet Max – the hardest working man in Bike Auckland

Meet Max - the hardest working man in Bike AucklandMax Robitzsch, our infrastructure guru – although he prefers the milder term ‘infrastructure liaison’ – might just be the hardest-working man in Auckland bike advocacy. He’ll tell you himself that even after a long day at work as a transport engineer, getting a new set of design plans to pore over is ‘a little bit like candy.’ (His very patient partner once said, when asked what Bike Auckland meant to her: ‘Max on the computer.’) Max’s fingerprints are on almost every bike project that’s happened in the city over the last 8 years, all the way up to LightPath and beyond. He’s Cycleway Man, our secret weapon, our second shift. The story is, Max burns the midnight …
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Getting Your Hands Dirty With Tumeke

Getting Your Hands Dirty With TumekeJust off Karangahape Road, at the bottom of a nondescript commercial street neatly bisected by a cavernous Southern Motorway, is a little hub of community goodness. It’s called Tumeke Cycle Space. It’s where you go when your bike is sick and you want to mend it yourself with the help – for a koha or even for free – of people who know their way around bikes. It might sound too good to be true, but that’s what Tumeke does every Sunday afternoon and on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Tumeke describes itself as a non-profit, community-run, do-it-with-others bicycle workshop. When I dropped in one evening recently, a steady trickle of …
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When Red met Teau: the story of a long walk in support of local bikes

When Red met Teau: the story of a long walk in support of local bikesRed Lunday de Waal is a keen recreational cyclist. As a member of Devonport’s ‘Flat Whites’ and Frocks on Bikes, she loves riding her bike for transport and exploration. She’s also a keen walker and supporter of Living Streets Aotearoa: ‘I’m inherently a walker,’ she says. ‘I love being active and out there.’ Now she’s combining her two loves by walking the length of New Zealand to raise funding and awareness for Teau Aiturau‘s bike work in Mangere. Red had it in mind to walk the 3000km Te Araroa Trail to mark a milestone year for herself – she wanted to spend the year leading up to her 60th birthday doing something meaningful. Then, during the Bike …
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