NZ Cycle Trail and Rural Communities
I’ve done a re-edit of our last video that focuses specifically on the interviews with the NZ Cycle Trail Team. We hope to share it as a resource for other bike advocates trying to make an economic argument for cycling. Although we find it pretty amazing and daring for the New Zealand government to tackle a cycling project of that scale, it is not the only model. Sustrans in the UK was funded to create a project for the new Millennium that was free for masses of people to enjoy and benefited the entire country and they developed the National Cycle Network!
While the NZ Cycle Trail network is still in its infancy and will have a few more years to fully mature, there are already signs of promise. We’ve seen local councils take the lead and make steps to improve trails and roads in their region. We’ve seen some businesses that were started to meet the growing demand of cycling. Most encouraging is that we’ve seen an increase in locals using cycling resources that were developed for tourism. The most exceptional example we’ve come upon is a ferry operation in Nelson. Two people built a flat bottom ferry with bike racks to shuttle tourists to Rabbit Island where there is a lovely meandering path. An unexpected benefit is that locals are brushing off their bikes and using the ferry in droves. It has become quite the weekend activity to take the family out for a bike ride out on Rabbit Island.
There are still some hard yards ahead to change road culture and the perception of bicycles just as recreation to transportation in New Zealand. We’re reminded of that everyday we’re on a road with cars passing too close too fast. After talking to many people involved in the program we remain cautiously optimistic.
At the moment we are in Greymouth and have experienced a mechanical with my Brompton. We’ve opted to take the train to Christchurch and wait for the part and deal with repairs there. So if you’re in Christchuch and want to meet up or can help us out with a home stay, email us!
(Keep our adventures going and the site growing! If you’ve enjoyed our stories, videos and photos over the years, consider buying our ebook Panniers and Peanut Butter, or our 2012 2012 calendar or some of the fun bike-themed t-shirts we’re designing.)