Puzzle me this: which way to the pink path?

Puzzle me this: which way to the pink path?Several months ago we shared a wayfinding tale of woe by Neil, who tried to bike from the city home to Henderson by dead reckoning – and got dead confused. At the time, we nudged AT to address the situation for new riders, given the volume of people who are keen to try the city’s cycleways, if only they can find them. The city centre cycle network map is great, and there’s now one for Waterview, too. But in our experience, people also need simple, intuitive, and unignorable on-the-ground signage. This will be especially true over the next few years, with increasingly popular and connected bike paths, and more and more of …
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Lost and found – a wayfinding fiasco

Lost and found – a wayfinding fiascoFor experienced navigators of the city, it can be hard to remember what it was like just starting out. We get used to figuring out how to get from A to B by following the breadcrumbs, or the ant trail of other people on bikes. Once you know the way, it can be almost impossible to return to what the Zen masters call ‘Beginner’s mind’. But with Auckland Transport reviewing its paper bike maps (and looking at map apps for the digitally enhanced among us), it’s ever more crucial to see things with fresh eyes. Enter Neil, a retired school teacher who regularly bikes around his Henderson neighbourhood for exercise. He contacted us the other day with the following good-humoured tale of …
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What the Dickens? A Cycling Christmas Carol

What the Dickens? A Cycling Christmas CarolOur favourite storyteller Simon Vincent has done it again, with a bike twist on a seasonal classic (and we contributed a few embellishments ourselves)… ‘Twas the day before Christmas. The sky was clear and promised another glorious day on the morrow. But Ebenezer Schrader was unhappy. He was always unhappy, but he was particularly unhappy after his long and annoying drive into work today. “Bah, traffic!” he complained as he climbed out of his SUV. “Why don’t they do something about all these infernal people in their cars?” He to grumble as he entered his business premises: Schrader’s Specialist Emporium of All The Coffee. Bob Crankset, his loyal assistant, greeted him …
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Horsing around the world

Horsing around the worldOur favourite storyteller Simon Vincent has been around the world and back again, and returns with a bit of whimsy that he sincerely hopes doesn’t seem like flogging a dead, er, bicycle… Our family recently undertook a long haul trip to visit family and friends. The opportunity to see new or old places, catch up with friends and wallow in nostalgia is one I enjoy, of course, but the flights themselves can be tough. On long haul flights you need sleep or distraction. On our first leg – Auckland to Hong Kong – I found something that provided both. I read an article about the old bicycle vs. horse races that …
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School holiday inspiration: Greg & Neale build a tandem

School holiday inspiration: Greg & Neale build a tandemWe’re back from blog holiday! And yet still buzzing with holiday spirit and creativity and plans. So, you might have seen Bike Auckland secretary Greg Nikoloff around and about on his amazing electric bike, the ‘Orange Smoothy’. But Greg and cool bikes go way back, as he explains in this shaggy-dog story of two lads and some epic tinkering…  It all started some 36 years ago – and as these things always seemed to back then, it started with something my younger brother Simon did. Something that sparked: a mishap, an idea, an epic adventure. Simon worked in a garage after school, which meant he had access to cool stuff like welding, spray-painting… and the money …
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Flocks ‘n’ Bikes – birdwatching on wheels

Flocks 'n' Bikes - birdwatching on wheels“On my bike, I get to enjoy being a part of my environment, not apart from it,” writes our favourite storyteller Simon Vincent, as he turns his commute into a flight of fancy about what his feathered friends are thinking… Opening the squeaky door of the shed (sorry, neighbours) to get my bike out of a morning, I am often greeted by a 21-sparrow salute. The birds rise as one, complete a few aerial manoeuvres, then resettle themselves on the roof. I am intrigued by birds; their personalities and aerial displays are an integral part of my ride to work. I am not a “twitcher”, more just an interested passerby, gliding quietly through the world …
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How the Cycle May Be Used as a Weapon, and other handy tips

How the Cycle May Be Used as a Weapon, and other handy tipsIn the early decades of bike culture, we pretty much made up the rules as we went along. Witness this amazing article from a 1901 issue of Pearson’s Magazine, which we stumbled across on Twitter yesterday. Dangerous times indeed. It transpires that bicyclists are easier to ambush than horsemen, on account of having bicycle lights, so you can see them coming. Oh dear! But – On the other hand, consider the cyclist’s advantages. He comes silently, and passes swiftly, like a spirit. Like a righteous spirit. Oh yes. For cyclists faced with all manner of bike emergencies and disasters – be it brake failure, getting caught without lights, running into a miscreant bent …
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Why we ride – Marcus Perry on getting a taste for biking

Why we ride - Marcus Perry on getting a taste for bikingWe all ride, but we all got into riding for different reasons. Marcus Perry’s story is a tantalising tale of a wee nipper… and a wee nip. Don’t try this at home (or school!). As a kid, like many of my generation I got bikes as birthday or Christmas presents as I grew. I’d ride around the neighbourhood with my brother and friends. I loved the freedom. When I was fourteen I was living in Canada, and my parents sent me to a fairly low-rent private school in the next town. Mum would give me $8 per week for the intercity bus for the 20km trip each way. I dutifully took the …
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Weather to ride

Weather to rideOur wonderful resident storyteller Simon Vincent is back with a story of how when you’re on a bike, every cloud has a silvery lining…  It is a cliché, which is nevertheless true, that the English love to talk about the weather. Actually I don’t know if it is still true – maybe in this day of social media they just tweet, “Looks like rain again #greyclouds” – but somehow, I don’t think so. So apologies, but here I go. I certainly grew up when talking about the weather was a major social lubricant – and not only did we talk about it – we walked in it and cycled in it. We …
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The Ride to Wigan Pier – a story of kids, bikes, and beer

The Ride to Wigan Pier - a story of kids, bikes, and beerA guest post by Simon Vincent, of Auckland Transport and Bike Te Atatu. As it’s a crisp, clear morning I park my bike at the jetty alongside Henderson Creek in Tui Glen Reserve and look into the water and let my mind flow with the tide. That’s one of the joys of riding a bike – you can just pull up, take in the view, ponder life, the universe and everything, and then get back on the bike and continue your journey. The jetty has me thinking of another relic of a bygone transport age, and as my thoughts drift to some of my earliest bike-powered adventures I realise I’ve …
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Take a Two-Mile Tour or a Four-K Frolic – but above all, take a friend!

Take a Two-Mile Tour or a Four-K Frolic - but above all, take a friend!So many people are out there, hankering to hop on a bike! How many? Well, Auckland Transport’s own research reckons 60% of Aucklanders would ride if the roads were more welcoming. And who can forget what happened in 2013 when AA’s Directions magazine – the magazine for car drivers! – asked its readers if they’d give cycling a go? We are the 92%! So what are we waiting for? I found one answer over at Bikeyface, the witty bike blog of Bekka Wright (her motto: “I have a sense of humor and a bicycle. I exercise both as often as possible”). Bekka’s brilliant at boiling complicated things down to a single image, and her …
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Snacks on Bikes – A Wheely Good Idea

Snacks on Bikes - A Wheely Good IdeaWhat is it with food and bikes? They go so well together. First, Tom Beeston’s pop-up cake stand. Now, this weekend’s amazing-sounding Brooklyn Donut Massacre from NYC’s Five Borough Bicycle Club. Read it and drool: “So many donuts – so little time. In about 25 miles we visit five of the best donut shops in Brooklyn – Donut Plant [Park Slope], Cream [Bay Ridge], Dough [Bed-Sty], Dun Well [Bushwick] and of course Peter Pan [Greenpoint]. Come and join the 5BBC as we ride through Brooklyn to discover who makes the best damn donut. You do not have to eat them all. No judgments if you do.” Mmm, donuts. Bikes. Donuts on …
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Cyclist fined

Here is a legal question for you. If the man above was stopped by the Police in New Zealand, what is the most likely thing he would be charged with? If you answered “riding without a helmet”, you get the chocolate fish*. A man was recently stopped by Police in Timaru riding his bicycle 1. naked, 2. under the influence and 3. sans casque (as our French friends would say). The rider was promptly fined for his lack of helmet and sent on his way. Good to know the Police have their priorities in order. Is a nude cycle ride through Auckland in order. Does anyone want to see that? *Full …
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Bikelash: Some ammunition for the comments section

If, like sad cycle geeks such as me, you are always reading articles on cycling, you will see the same tired lines rolled out in the comments section again and again. It doesn’t matter what country, website or time of day, there will be someone trotting out one of a number of anti-cycling “facts”. Below I have paraphrased some of my favourites: All cyclists run all red lights and never stop at stop signs! Cyclists cause congestion and kill hundreds of pedestrians every year! Cyclists need to pay road tax and register their bikes. Then they will always drive safely like motorists do. Cyclists are the spawn of Satan and are all Communists – …
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Cycling cartoons

Cycling as a means of transport isn’t something we see a lot in popular culture, at least not in the English speaking world (it may be all over the place in the Netherlands and Denmark). So I was really pleased to find this series of cartoons taking a light hearted look at a guy who is fanatical about transport cycling from an American cartoonist. Unfortunately the author stopped creating new cartoons at the end of 2012 but there are still 4 years of some pretty funny stuff to catch up on. This is a summary of the cartoons from Wikipedia: The titular character ran a bike shop, the Kickstand Cyclery, with …
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