We are delighted to introduce our new Treasurer of the Bike Auckland Board, Juan Espinosa.
What is your first memory on a bike?
When I was 8, my friends and I started getting together to ride bikes in a local park [in Bogotá] on the weekends. I think that was when my interest in riding, exercise and nature began.
What type of bike do you ride?
It is a Trek mountain bike.
Cycling for transport, recreation, community; or all three?
Definitely all 3. I think it is an urban duty to provide spaces where people can move freely, safely and sustainably, and it is the user who defines the reason for using it.
In my case, it started recreational and now has become a tool for a smoother commute.
Have you always ridden or did something inspire you to make the shift to cycling for transport?
I was fortunate enough to receive a bike as a birthday gift, I tried it as a means of transportation and I loved it. I no longer need to wait for buses, adjust to their schedule, search for parking, or be stuck in traffic jams.
Where is your favourite place to ride in Auckland? Or in the world?
In Auckland my favourite place to ride is along Tāmaki Drive. It is a must-do ride for me, especially in spring.
In Bogota, people should try the “Ciclovia”. The Ciclovia is Latin America’s most extensive bicycle path network with 127.7km of cycling paths. My favourite route goes from Usaquén to Candelaria (C3, N3 and N4 on the map below). Within that route, you can attend some events related to food, music and sports.
What attracted you to joining Bike Auckland’s Board?
I wanted to be part of an organisation that promotes changes in the way we commute.
I grew up in a city where more than 880 thousand people commute to their jobs by bicycle, and where the streets are closed to cars on Sundays and on public holidays so that pedestrians and cyclists have a space where they can mobilise, socialise and exercise. And I would love to have similar spaces in New Zealand.
Also, this is a great opportunity to get closer to the cycling community.
Tell us about your career / professional experience that you will bring to the Board?
In a nutshell, I have worked in multiple organisations in Colombia and New Zealand in Financial Services. I focus on delivering transformation, innovation and efficiencies through data insights.
My role is to ensure that Bike Auckland has sufficient funds to meet its short and long-term obligations.
What do you think some of the biggest challenges for cycling in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland are?
- Lack of dedicated cycling infrastructure and bike lanes in certain areas
- Safety concerns, including dangerous intersections and lack of driver awareness
- Limited access to showers and changing facilities at workplaces for bike commuters
- Limited bike parking options in some areas
What’s your big, no-limits, dream for Auckland?
My big, no-limits dream for cycling in Auckland is for the city to become a world-renowned cycling destination, with a comprehensive network of safe and accessible bike lanes, paths, and trails that connect every corner of the city.
I envision a future where biking is the primary mode of transportation for many Aucklanders, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.
This dream would require a significant investment in cycling infrastructure, education campaigns, and community engagement, but I believe it is achievable with the right leadership and commitment.
What suggestions do you have for people who want to really get into cycling like you have?
Don’t rush it (baby steps), you don’t need the most expensive bike to get started, and put an end to the excuses. Try it – it’s fun!
And to end, a question that’s not about biking…crunchy or smooth peanut butter?