A report from Carol Green on Bike Te Atatu’s highly effective Buy-Cycle campaign to highlight people on bikes as regular shoppers. Expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing!

In March this year, Bike Te Atatu ran a photo competition, encouraging people to take photos of their local shopping trips by bike and upload them to social media using the hashtag #BuycycleTeAtatu all month long. All photos then became part of an exhibition at the Te Atatu Peninsula Community Centre in the first two weeks of April, and winners were awarded prizes in the form of gift vouchers for local businesses.

Our goal was to increase both the number and visibility of people shopping by bike in Te Atatu. We especially wanted to highlight our existence to business owners, who often assume all their customers arrive by car.

(Editorial note: Studies show retailers overestimate the number of people who arrive by car and underestimate those who rock up by bike, on foot, or via public transport. Take for example this survey of K Road businesses and shoppers, carried out preparatory to the current improvements project. Related: a recent piece of research from Toronto, Canada, found that when a bike lane pilot replaced parking spots on a shopping street, both the number of shoppers AND the total amount spent increased!)

A summary of surveys of perceptions vs. reality when it comes to how customers arrive.

Impressively, across the course of the month we had a grand total of 117 photo entries, from 38 people, featuring at least 42 different businesses – from supermarkets and dairies, takeaways and restaurants, to the local dentist, toy library and barber shops and all sorts in between.

In April, we mounted an exhibition of all the entries at Te Atatu Peninsula Community Centre and had a lively opening event to which we invited Councillor Penny Hulse (who is both a local and a bicycle-rider) to judge the winners.

Sarah Wroe’s gorgeous photo of her son outside Orient Bakery won the grand prize.

Photo by Sarah Wroe: “Bread run” (Bike Te Atatu)

And while the remaining prizes were picked out of a hat (actually a cycle helmet), Penny gave honourable mention to a few other photos that captured the spirit of the campaign.

  • Davanea Forbes’s photo “Early morning and the cats are complaining about lack of food? No worries”. Penny said she could identify as a cat owner.
Davanea Forbes: “Early morning and the cats are complaining about lack of food? No worries!” (Bike Te Atatu)
  • Charlotte Owens’s photo “Fish no chips with this girl from Blue Lagoon Te Atatu South on a lovely evening” – Penny spoke about the joy in this photo, and how much she loves seeing kids riding their bikes without grown-ups.
Charlotte Owens: “Fish no chips with this girl from Blue Lagoon Te Atat? South on a lovely evening” (Bike Te Atatu)
  • Liesa Leyland’s “Mr Illingsworth pit stop”, noted for the arty composition.
Liesa Leyland: “Mr Illingsworth pit stop” (Bike Te Atatu)
  • Pshem Kowalczyk’s “bread series“, posted via Twitter: one man and his bread obsession.
Pshem Kowalczyk: “Bread series” (Bike Te Atatu)
  • Tim Sutton’s photo taken outside E Tu Bistro; Penny said she loves riding at night past lit-up shops.
Tim Sutton: “Cycling back from the city after a late shift there is no better place to stop than Et T? Bistro.”

We also rather loved this one, taken by Simon Vincent (who came up with the punny name for the competition), and showing Shane Price buying an ice cream.

Simon Vincent: “Big scoop, thanks!” (Bike Te Atatu)
Carol Green, “Dairy Bike” (Bike Te Atatu)

— story by Carol Green, who also took the header photo showing a classic dairy-bike scenario.

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