I hate shopping so much that I would, if I could, contract out all my purchases to my style queen friends who are constantly refreshing their wardrobes and houses. However, there are times when I’m drawn to check out a shop while cycling around a different part of the city from my usual beat.
So it was that last week I was cruising along Carlton Gore Rd inspecting progress on the long awaited, new cycle lanes. I’d heard enthusiastic comments about them from Nick Rogers, principal of Tonkin and Taylor (and member of the NZTA board), whose HQ is on Carlton Gore. He reported T & T have a good number of staff who already bike to work, and and are pleased with the new infrastructure.
It was a busy scene as contractors worked to put the finishing touches to the project. I was impressed to see the crew bucketing and spreading that gorgeous green sand to mark the new cycle lanes. How exciting to have this done at the same time as the construction work, rather than months after the road lanes are marked, as often happens elsewhere!
(Note to AT: When is Devonport’s Lake Rd new hot mix surface getting its greening and cycle symbols?)
On the western (upper) section of Carlton Gore Rd, the contractors were still building the final stages of the cycle lane separators. This led to a bit of recidivist car-parking behaviour…….
… but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the ride. My eyes were drawn to a lighting shop near the top, so I pulled over to have a look.
I told the retailer how lucky he was to have a cycle lane, as it meant I felt safe enough to notice his shop and stop to buy things. I’ve ridden past heaps of times before, but have always been fixated on checking for car doors opening on me from parked cars, and passing traffic.
The retailer didn’t believe I’d arrived by bike, so I had to show him my sturdy steed parked against the shop. This led to a major grump session that the new Copenhagen cycle lane had displaced the parking spaces previously sited immediately beside the kerb. He was upset that people who arrived by car now had to cross the cycle lane to reach his shop, and pointed out that the downhill cycle lane opposite his shop was on the outside of the parked cars. “Why can’t that happen outside my shop?” he asked bitterly.
I patiently explained the benefits of protected cycle lanes for people on bikes, particularly on uphill sections of roads. I added that car drivers are not the only people who go shopping. To prove my point, I asked him to show me his range of glass light shades, as I needed to replace the tired paper shades in my living room. I selected 3 big shades to do the job, and was told they would be ordered from the shop’s central warehouse, as like increasing numbers of retail outlets, only display items were available on the premises. I paid the shop man $500, including a bit extra to have the shades delivered to my home.
I was pleased to have knocked off two tasks, when I’d set off to do just one. I mounted my bike with satisfaction and rode off into the sunny day, watched by the still-disbelieving retailer.
Did I leave him with a new awareness that people on bikes are customers too? Your guess is as good as mine!
* A tip of the hat to By the Motorway who first pinned the word quaxing down, then set it free for all to use! So, is it technically quaxing if I had my shopping delivered? Sure, I like to think so – especially with the number of things you can have delivered these days. And who’s to say the delivery mightn’t happen by bike as well, with new businesses starting up like cargo bike courier Urban Sherpa…