Phew! What an epic day on Quay St. And perfect proof that if you make space for people, and make it inviting, they’ll flock to fill it. Of course we know this from all the many other successful Open Streets events around the world, but Auckland had to find out for itself.
Everywhere you went, all day long, thousands of people were having all sorts of fun. And every single one of them was asking: “But why is only half the street open?” Fair point, especially for those who’d been hoping for a spin along the car-free streets. And a useful illustration of how, if you give people a glimpse of alternative ways to shape a street, they’ll start imagining all sorts of possibilities.
Well, the way ahead is clear for next time: all or nothing!
Our tent was buzzing all day long. We loved just hanging out, chatting with people about how to make Auckland better on bikes, giving out free bike maps and goodies…
Our green-screen photo booth was incredibly popular. We’ll be posting some more pics here and on Facebook over the next few days, but for now here are some of us testing it out before the crowds showed up.
And our first-ever Bike Gang Challenge was a phenomenal success, with the first gangs showing up on the dot of 10 a.m. Can you believe that 28 different bike gangs, large and small, entered the competition??
It was so great to meet such a wide variety cyclists from all over the city, in small and large groups. Huge thanks to everyone who rode up to be counted, and to Jessica for masterminding the whole thing. You know you’re all winners in our heart — and on top of that, we’ll be announcing the various prizewinners over the next day or two, as we sort through all the photos and the categories.
(NB the judges’ decision may be final, but this is not the final one of these gigs, now that we know you’re all up for it!)
Zone 3, the bike zone, was quite the hub. We had Tumeke Cycle Space next door to us, Bike Te Atatu & crew in the Bike Burbs tent, Gen Zero’s “Sew Love Your Bike” decoration tent, Bikes for Refugees, NextBike bike tours, LesCykill fixes to ogle, and e-bike test rides from Urban Cleantech. Connections and friendships were forged on the day that will last a while.
It was fun spotting bike champs out and about, too. Like Pippa Coom from the Waitemata Local Board, who would have won the prize for largest number of bike-themed accessories, if we’d had one.
And Green MP Julie Anne Genter, coincidentally wearing Cycle Action’s new colours!
We didn’t get his name, but everyone wanted a moment with this four-legged ambassador for the benefits of the canine biking life…
Then there was this little guy enjoying his very first outing on a bike. Yeah, why not start with a massive street festival? That’s the spirit, Arlo! (Pictured with his mum, our own Jena).
Huge thanks to our wonderful team of Cycle Action volunteers, to our friends at Auckland Transport for picking up Open Streets and running with it, and to the lovely Adele and her crew at Fresh Concept for the smoothest set-up and pack-down ever. A special thanks to Tom, Julia and co from Quickpix for their smooth handling of all the photography, which gave so many people a chance to capture the day in an image to keep.
From our perspective, it was a fantastic day – even if it was hard to actually, y’know, bike on the street until everyone started to go home. Yes, sure, we would have loved the whole street to play in. Nonetheless: a whole lot of Aucklanders brought their bikes to town! The point has been made. Now we’re looking forward to next time even more… and to truly, fully, beautifully open streets.