Cycling is the new black
by Vanessa Crowe, Sustainable Communities Coordinator
When it comes to transport, cycling is 'the new black' in Kāpiti. New cycle tracks, community bike lending, recycling unused bikes, free maintenance workshops and cycle skills courses are helping to make getting out on your bike easy, affordable and fun.
On Saturday January 23rd, cyclists turned out on mass for the grand opening of Te Aro O Whareroa, the new cycling and walking trail between Paekākāriki and Raumati South. Te Ara o Whareroa is an exciting step in the development of healthy sustainable transport options for the Kāpiti Coast. The wide sealed track has created an easy to ride link between the communities of Raumati and Paekākāriki that makes it possible to avoid highway traffic and the more adventurous inland tracks when cycling between the two villages.
The opening celebrations held at Whareroa Beach in the middle of Queen Elizabeth park included a blessing by local Iwi, speeches and the unveiling of a new sculpture, followed by a cycling carnival with food trucks, stalls, a bouncy castle, cycle jumps and bike skills games.
The bike skill games were run by Jan Nisbet, founder of the Paekākāriki Bike Library. At bit over a year ago, Jan set up the bike library with a vision for every child in Paekākāriki to have a bike to ride and the skills and confidence to do so. The bike library is now going strong, lending out bikes to local families for $20/year and also offering bike building and maintenance workshops.
“We want to recycle unused bikes so children can learn to ride, improve their riding and ultimately ride to college using the new bike track,” says Jan. “Recycling bikes means parents don’t have the big expense of always buying new bikes.”
Jan particularly wants year nine students to have to option of riding to college on the new track. With the local bus costing over $200 per term, encouraging students to bike could save parents a considerable sum of money.
The Paekākāriki Bike Library is focused on serving the needs of its local community. Jan would love to see bike libraries across Kāpiti and is happy to share the bike library model with anyone interested in setting one up.
Meanwhile further up the coast, Ōtaki College is intending to continue to develop a project begun last year, recycling old bikes to be distributed around the town for public use. The students have been excited to see people riding their bikes around the township, contributing to a sense of town ownership. Read more about this project in a story recently featured on Stuff.
If you are feeling inspired to get you and your family out on bikes, but feeling nervous about being on the roads, you could sign up to do a free Pedal Ready cycle skills programme - designed to help both children and adults be safe on the roads. You can also find out more information about cycleways in Kāpiti, including a map of tracks that will take you from Paekākāriki to Peka Peka.
For more information about the bike library contact Jan Nisbet ph 0273585611 or email [email protected]
image: Abe and Daisy Calder have a go at the bike skills games at the Te Aro O Whareroa opening celebrations.