Once touted as the New Zealand’s most ‘cycle friendly city’, Christchurch has slipped behind other Kiwi metropolis at encouraging the best means of urban transportation. We’ve had earthquakes, a winter to forget, and now we’re looking towards rebuilding our city, so where does cycle commuting fit into our lives?
No prizes for assuming I have a rather parochial view when it comes to throwing my 2 cents into the cycle commuting debate but I want to shed a different light on the situation. I’m not here to preach what you should know already – the world is going to run out of oil – private transport is going to change and we’re living with unprecedented amounts of obesity and inactivity – but rather give recommendations on how to start using cycling for transportation.
Firstly, use the following to make commuting enjoyable:• Patience: like as a motorist, if applied will mean you will enjoy your commute. Expect a bit of negligence from motorists (by not seeing you), but don’t be affronted and contribute to the karma of road rage but continue on your way.• Build fitness progressively – start small by cycling to your corner dairy to buy milk; in a few weeks make it a bit further to a friend’s house; then start a more regular routine of commuting to work.
Secondly, most Christchurchers’ perceived risk of cycle commuting is far greater than actual risk. Actual risk is not significant if you apply the following:
• Anticipate bad driver habits.
• Ride like you’re invisible to motorists. Anticipate every car may turn onto your course – have a contingency plan for where you’re going if you need to avert collision (e.g. onto a footpath or further to the centre line).
So come on Christchurchers – do your bit for our economy, roads, environment, and your health!