A new bike group started on Whangaparāoa Peninsula during lockdown already has 20 members and hopes to influence how cyclist-friendly the area becomes as it develops.
Paula Luijken, 37, started the Whangaparāoa Bike Burb after she recently moved to Red Beach from Onehunga.
She belonged to Onehunga’s Bike Burb and used her bike to commute to work in the city.
“I like cycling for transport, rather than for recreation,” she says.
While admitting this is difficult now she is on the Hibiscus Coast, where her commute is now by bus, she says she likes biking to the shops.
“I may consider getting an e-bike as it’s very hilly around here,” she says.
Her cycle commuting was inspired by time living in London and parts of Europe where there are bike super highways, separate from motorways.
“It was such a great way to get around and connects with fresh air and the seasons. It means you can commute without being in traffic.”
She says this was what people experienced when cycling during lockdown.
“People had time to cycle, but also felt safe with no cars around,” she says. “It became relaxing and fun to ride as you weren’t worried about being hit by a car.”
That appetite for riding has continued, and Paula is encouraging those people to join the bike burb.
“Its very low key. It’s more about getting together and having fun, more than riding far and fast, or for fitness,” Paula says.
It’s a way to join people for rides, and also to advocate for better infrastructure.
“When local projects are proposed, groups like Council, the local board and Auckland Transport can tap into people who ride bikes through the burbs.”
Info: Look for Bike Orewa on Facebook.
Want to start a Bike Burb?
Bike Burbs are local groups who come together around a vision of their neighbourhood as a bike-friendly place.
They foster activities and local action that make it easier for people of all ages to jump on a bike for local trips.
The kind of activities each Bike Burb gets involved in is up to its members, whether that be holding family-friendly rides, bike swaps and fix-its, hands-on advocacy, sharing information and working with the local board and/or business associations.
Bike Burbs are considered important stakeholders by Auckland Transport, Auckland Council and Bike Auckland, especially when engaging with the community about new cycle infrastructure.
There are currently 25 Bike Burbs, including one in Orewa and the new one in Whangaparaoa (see above). They are independent, but affiliated with Bike Auckland through an agreement which ensures that Bike Auckland can provide support including online resources and connections with other groups and communities. Info: bikeauckland.org.nz/bikeburbs/