Labour Weekend saw the wildly popular Labour Weekend launch of Mangere BikeFIT (Future in Transport), an initiative by our South Auckland bike champ Mr T to get more people on bikes on those gorgeous flat streets and paths of South Auckland. Thanks to a whole bunch of sponsors, and with music and MC-ing provided by hiphop station RepFM, Teau and co had a record turnout, with over 200 people signing up to try out a bike. (Pics below kindly shared by RepFM, via their Facebook page, with other photos by Rangi Ehu).
“There were tons of kids, and lots of parents,” says Teau. “Some people had never even gotten on a bike before, but picked it up on the day, just because of the positive atmosphere. So many little kids were zooming around on bikes!”
The day had a real carnival vibe, with great weather, sausage sizzles, and giveaways (everyone wants a bell!). The Cycle Blend smoothie machines were especially popular, as were the stationary bikes. Teau had planned a little competition to see who could pedal fastest. Two kids, one boy and one girl, accepted the challenge and jumped on – and then an hour and a half later, still couldn’t be persuaded to stop! Teau gave them each a bike from his stash of donated bikes, on the grounds that they’d totally earned it.
Speaking of donated bikes – I was thrilled to to spot my comfy old basket bike in the photos, amongst the fleet of donated bikes that Teau and his little (and big) helpers restore and pass along to the community. It’s now the preferred “test ride” for mums – at least ten mums took it for a spin on the day, and got a taste for how bikes can be an everyday choice for everyday shopping and transport and fun.
It’s wonderful to know that this good old bike – which carried my younger son to daycare and back in Connecticut before returning to New Zealand with me a couple of years ago – now has a new life in the part of Auckland where I grew up taking biking for granted. Full circle, and a real sense of pay it forward.
And if you happen to have a good old bike just sitting around, why not take it out to Mangere and pass it along to Teau, or to Diana round the corner at the refugee resettlement agency?
Teau is following up the weekend’s excitement with a special “Hallowheels” edition of his Bike the Night ride, featuring a treasure hunt through Mangere’s Centre Park. If the previous Bike the Nights are anything to go by, this one will be spookily excellent. It’s aimed at kids and families, but Teau and co always welcome helpers and supporters along for the ride.
PS Teau also has a few families who are VERY keen to Bike the Bridge this year – if anyone has transport and is keen to help figure out the logistics to make this happen, please get in touch with him, at 022 360 5748. It would be an absolutely transformative experience for these kids and their parents.