Feeling in need of some cycling inspiration? How about visiting Auckland next month? The next “CAN Do”, a 2-day workshop looking at how to promote everyday cycling, is being held in the City of Sails on the 13th-14th of April.
The CAN Do has its origins as an event for cycling advocates, initially held in conjunction with the NZ Cycling Conferences. As the name suggests, it was organised by the Cycling Advocates Network (CAN) and was designed to support its local members and groups like Spokes Canterbury here in Christchurch. More recently, most of them have been stand-alone events, and targeted at anyone who wants to help get more people cycling (and more safely/conveniently).
Typically, the CAN Do has featured a range of sessions, including strategic planning of future CAN/advocacy initiatives, presentations and training on useful advocacy skills (e.g. media skills, preparing submissions), and a showcase of what local groups have been up to. This is usually rounded off with a fun ride or two around the area and washed down with some good food and drink.
This year’s event is being hosted by CAN and Cycle Action Auckland (CAA), who have been very proactive in recent years in getting a greater acceptance of cycling in our largest city. Auckland isn’t perhaps the first place you would think of for cycling in NZ and, until a few years ago, I would have considered it a bit of a basket-case when it came to sustainable transport. However CAA have forged particularly good links with Akld Transport and NZ Transport Agency, and this is paying dividends in terms of some quite impressive cycling projects around the city. There’s still a long way to go, but the pace of change is quite impressive.
This year’s CAN Do has a theme of “Inspiring Change”, with a focus on external and internal communication. How do we develop relationships with key players and win the hearts and minds of both the decision-makers and the general public? There are a variety of guest speakers, including Rod Oram and key staff from NZTA and District Health Boards. You’ll also hear about exciting projects such as Bikes in Schools and the CAN/BikeNZ Safer Cycling programme, as well as what other local cycling groups around the country have been up to. And did I mention the bike riding and food and drink?
Most people I know who have been to a CAN Do for the first time find them a highly inspiring event that recharges the batteries for trying to encourage more everyday cycling around New Zealand. And at just $100 for the two days (plus your travel and accommodation) it’s exceptionally good value. It looks like at least 3-4 bods from Christchurch are already going, but the more the merrier. So jump onto the CAN website or event Facebook page and sign up!