Monday, October 26, 2009

350 Ride, in a frock, on a bike!

It was my wifes idea that we should think about doing the 350 ride from Eastborne to Wellington on saturday.

She started riding a bike to work this year during "Bike to work" month, and this culminated in her actually doing the Graperide, a big turn around for someone who has always regarded cycling as a "vice".

Ever since then she has become very vocal in the "water-cooler" discussions at work when her workmates turn on the down-trodden cyclist!

We tootled on to Petone and teamed up with Matt, Mo and Zoe. Matt was riding a single speed, moustached-barred Colnago, towing a bike-trailer with a two-year old on board. These trailers are real head-turners and people's faces just lit up to see a sproggin getting towed around like this. A shame that this kind of thing is not encouraged in this 3rd world city of ours.

The Eastborne riders rolled in about 30 mins late, but large in numbers, about 170 I think? The Frocks on Bikes thing was happening as well, so Kay and Mo frocked up to show people that riding a bike didn't have to mean Lyrca and sweat.

The famous Kennett Brose and whanau were spotted in different parts, and a yap with Paul (also towing a trailer with a two-year old on board) revealed their new book about to be launched - ( Cycling Legend Tino Tabak) This one sounds great, and I cant wait to hear the interview with Kim Hill on National radio when it happens.

It was great to see a feminine side to cycling that I had never seen before. Kay got a puncture as we were about to leave Petone and instantly there was an immaculately dressed woman in knee-length boots waving a track pump at me! Awesome.

Unfortunately despite a C02 quick full and a track pump we still missed getting into town with the bunch. We caught them just as they cruised into the Wharf. From here it was down to the Macs Brewery where we ran into Alana Jo and Robyn Wong.

There was beer and chips, and gelatos, and when celebrity seismologist Bill Fry arrived with his $15 Healing Mountain Cat, there were more chips! Bills friend in a all-white Gimp-suit got maximum points for unsettling looks but seemed quite normal when he de-cowled. Bill and his friends had started their leg of the ride at Island Bay and went right around the bays to meet with the rest of us.

It was great to join in on such a fun event. One of the many things the riders were trying to bring to attention was the cycling lane situation in the Wellington region. We are so far off the ball is shameful.

Matt was towing a 2-year old in a bike trailer, and given the lack of a north-bound cycle-lane going back to the Hutt Valley, we were forced to ride back on the south-bound cycle-lane, and then ride the last 500 metres into the face of oncoming traffic at 100kmh. It was very very scary. The lane was covered in glass and debris for 80% of its length. Its not hard to see why. The lane is lower than the road and the debris travels down to the lower level. Where there is a gutter, the rubbish doesn't make it onto the lane.

Its hard to believe that we live in a country where cyclists have such a low status that this scenario is deemed acceptable. Check out the links below to read more about what the ride was about.

http://frocksonbikes.wordpress.com/
http://www.350.org/
http://www.350.org.nz/wellington/international-day-of-climate-action#harbourride

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