Monday, October 26, 2009

The 350 Big Bike Ride

"You don't look at the camera and I'll eat a sandwich, 
that'll make a good photo."
Waiting around for the start in Betty Winsdor Square.

On Saturday I packed the Midget Assassin, Pugsley and bike-trailer into the car and we headed over to downtown Auckland for The 350 Big Bike Ride. Kind of ironic that I had to drive to a climate change rally but it highlights the woeful situation bike commuters face living on the North Shore. I'm denied access to the only harbour crossing, there is no provision for bikes on the bus network and the ferry is a long way away, sails infrequently in the weekend and is expensive. I also doubt I could maneuver our road-train down the gang-plank successfully. 

Any initiative to start cleaning up the planet has got to be good, right? But for me it was more an opportunity to ride around the city in safety and show my support for urban cycling. Cycling has been getting more than enough bad publicity lately in NZ and there is lots of bad will among the general public towards cyclists in New Zealand at present. 

The ride started in Queen Elizabeth II Square at the bottom of town and the group of two or three hundred (best guess) sailed off up Queen Street on a beautiful spring day. What a different experience it is to ride in a group. I certainly felt the safety in numbers phenomenon as we cruised along soaking up the vibe of the city. 

The riders were a real cross-section of society but maybe biased a little towards the save the whales and university student end of things. There were lots of families with children of all ages and the most fixed-gear riders I have seen in one place. It was also pleasing to see the Lycra-Cowboys that attended smiling and having a good time as I had always assumed the constrictive shorts prevented those facial expressions. 

We left the procession near the end of the route and headed back to Ponsonby for a well-earned beer with friends as the ride carried on to the 350 festival at Mt Eden. The Midget-Assassin had been very well behaved to this point and I didn't want to push my luck. It was a great afternoon to be on a bike!

Heading up Queen Street, Auckland's main road.

Unity Finesmith of Auckland Cycle Chic frocking it in style.

The Midget-Assassin cruising back down Queen Street.

Mundo, Mundo, Mundo!!!
I so want a cargo-bike.

"What you look'n at mista?"

Every conceivable accessory including the family pooch.

Older guy, singlespeed (fixie?), elegant steel frame with fenders. Got my vote for cool-bike-of-the-day but was harassed with a few no-helmet comments from pedestrians.

Classic cars in the viaduct. They looked great but it amuses me how very average cars become "classics" if they make it to retirement. 

"Shush, Lycra-Cowboys on the waterfront."

I just love seeing kids on bikes.

Sorry about the shirt.

Ponsonby Road.


Radka said...

Good day. You have a nice blog and your photos I really like. Have a nice day. Radka.

Doug said...

I enjoyed the pictures.

Apology accepted!

We had a 350 ride in Duluth. I didn't find out about it until the day after. Not sure who organized it locally or how many people showed up. You'd think I would be up on local happenings like this, but somehow I missed out.

Unity Finesmith said...

Great post and really nice to meet you on the ride Antoine. I have popped your blog on my 'NZ chic-alicious info' links and email me ( if you would like to be kept in the loop on the Frocks events - you don't have to wear a dress, honest!