So much has changed since you last heard from us. In just two short weeks, the coordinated countrywide response to COVID-19 has transformed the shape of our days – and like you, we’ve spent the last couple of weeks adjusting to the new conditions.
This is the new reality for now. We know that people have lost work and are struggling; that businesses are worried they may have closed their doors forever; and that every “bubble” out there will be facing its own unique challenges over the coming weeks.
Yet even by that first weekend under Level 4, we glimpsed a new world taking shape – with kindness as the golden rule, cooperation for the common good as the goal, and a growing sense of potential. Health workers, cleaners, farmers, fruit pickers, supermarket staff, road crews, emergency services and all kinds of other essential workers are heroes we all applaud. And the things that matter most are rapidly coming into focus.
At Bike Auckland, the way we work has changed, but our mission stays the same: to protect the progress we’ve made, to be your voice through good times and bad, and to advance the vision for a more bike-friendly city with safe and healthy streets.
And the call for our advocacy is stronger than ever. We see people reclaiming neighbourhood streets for a daily dose of fresh air. Families on bikes, with the youngest members learning to keep up with the flock. Newbie or rusty cyclists out there too, brushing up their bike skills, tentative but with growing confidence. People jogging and scooting along, creating a lane for exercise where cars used to park. Everyone instinctively sharing the road space to give those on footpaths a wide berth.
So our work continues. Instead of commuting to face-to-face meetings, we’re now representing your interests via video link-ups with Auckland Transport and the Transport Agency. We know we’re not alone in this world of virtual meetings and collaboration. Is it more productive and sustainable? We think so. Will the positive aspects of this new normal last beyond lockdown? We hope so.
We’re keen to hear how life is for you, under lockdown. How are you coping; what are you learning; what are you seeing; what information do you need; what memories will stick with you when this strange time is behind us; what changes are you keen to keep?
We also asked readers who subscribe to our e-news – and we’re asking you here too – please let us know if you want to keep hearing from Bike Auckland, because we need you more than ever. Consultations for projects and policies are coming at us for response – Lake Road, the Northern Pathway over the bridge (good news – the dates for feedback have been extended), and the Accessible Streets rules. And of course we’re thinking about how to make sure bikes are intrinsic to plans for the recovery.
As always, we want to make it easy for your voice to be heard. If we write short, clear blogs with a few quick questions, will that work for you?
Meanwhile, we’re working on creative ways to keep everyone connected. We’re keen to highlight what’s going on in our neighbourhoods, now that there are fewer cars on the road and more people feel safe to bike locally. So we’re hatching a bunch of family-friendly local activities, including ways you can help make bikes count where you are, and opportunities to share your stories and experiences. We also know you have questions about bike maintenance, which is vital to keeping you mobile and healthy – especially for essential workers and essential journeys – so we’re working on that, too.
We have so much to share with you, if it works at your end. So, watch this space, and please tell us how we can be of help.
Stay local, stay safe, and stay well!
Chair of Bike Auckland
Header image: With our monthly in-person catch-ups on hiatus for now, we’re putting a #ridelocal and #stayhome spin on activities. Bike Breakfast @ Home was our first virtual event and we absolutely loved seeing your creativity! And Bikes & Bears is a family-friendly spin on our usual monthly Bikes & Beers. It’s simple as taking your teddies out with you for fresh air on wheels, and to spot other friendly animals in neighbours’ windows. Stay tuned for more ways to stay connected while staying local.