Another reason why cycling in Christchurch is great: you can combine bike and bus trips!
This evening I had to go to a meeting in Burnside. From work it was only another 5km – easy to get there by bike. But by the time I was finished I didn’t really fancy the 11km-or-so ride all the way back home, especially with a chilly night descending.
So instead I rode a couple of blocks over to The Orbiter bus route, waited a few minutes for the next bus and popped my bike on the racks in front:
At the other end it was then a case of unhooking the bike and a short ride home. All up, about 7km extra riding saved for the princely sum of $2.30! (plus I could check my phone messages along the way)
Christchurch was the pioneer of bike racks on buses in New Zealand and now they feature on nearly 20 different services around town, including many of the major ones like The Orbiter, Comet, and No.3 Sumner-Airport. Environment Canterbury’s Metro website has more details about where you can find the bike racks and how to use them.
I like bike racks on buses because they add to the flexibility of how you can use bikes in Christchurch:
- They allow you to connect to far-flung destinations like Rangiora, Lincoln and Rolleston.
- They solve the problem of the barrier that is Lyttelton Tunnel (esp. with Evans Pass out of action at the moment too) – now you can take your bike through.
- They let you get to favourite mountain-biking spots like Bottle Lake, Kennedy’s Bush and Rapaki Track without having to bike the whole way.
- If you’re a bit hill-shy you can use the bus to help you get up to the top; there are services to most of the hill suburbs like Westmorland, Cashmere, Huntsbury and Mt Pleasant.
- If you get caught out with bad weather when biking you can get back home without ending up like a drowned rat.
- Likewise, if something serious goes wrong with your bike that you can’t fix, you can at least get your damaged workhorse back home or to the repair shop.
It’s a bit daunting to put your bike on the rack the first time you do it – I remember paying very close attention to my bike for the whole trip to make sure that it didn’t fall off! But you soon learn that it’s actually quite quick and easy, and the racks are virtually idiot-proof. Just have a look at this video. And if the worst happens (I don’t think it ever has) the bus companies are insured for up to $1500 of damage.
So grab your bike and your MetroCard and get travelling!