Cycle Colombo: A Pleasant Day Out

Colombo-Beckenham1Colombo-Cashmere2It was a brilliant day on Sunday; perfect cycling weather. Just the right kind of day to Cycle on Colombo St. So I headed out to see who else was taking advantage of a good ride…

I started at the Cashmere end. Given that I didn’t get there until about 11am, I’d probably missed all the roadies and mountain-bikers who’d already spent a few hours in the saddle and had their morning tea by then. But there was still a steady number of people out and about on their bikes. It’s somewhat ironic that the busiest (and probably fastest) part of Colombo St is where there seems to be the most cycling. Then again, Beckenham does has the highest proportion of cycling, according to the latest Census figures

Bikes mean Business...

Bikes mean Business…

Colombo-SthCity1Further north, Sydenham was initially quite bereft of bikes, save for one parked outside a cafe. But coming back later, there was a more regular procession of people riding through. Colombo-CentralCity1There was quite a shift of businesses to the south of the city after the quake, so I was a bit surprised not to see more action around there.

The fine weather was attracting many people to the Central City and that included some on bikes. ReSTART Mall’s bike rack was well patronised as usual. And then, as I approached Cathedral Square, I turned around to see a whole armada of bikes approaching me! It was Frocks on Bikes, who had arranged a Sunday ride; great to see so many familiar faces.

Frocks on Bikes take on Colombo St

Frocks on Bikes take on Colombo St

Immediately north of the Square, Colombo St has now been reopened again, but it’s still a construction wasteland at present. And it was hard to find many people biking around too. Maybe because people on bikes happen to like actual places to go to also? Imagine what it could be like once the city has been rebuilt!

Only the lonely...

Only the lonely…

Colombo-Edgeware2North of Bealey Ave now and on the run to the top of Colombo. I got to Edgeware and initially was struggling to see anything but a solitary bike parked outside the shops. But then I came across Cycle Colombo organiser (and Edgeware local) Robert Fleming. Colombo-CityMall1Robert was quite pleased with the day’s activity so far, especially considering that, by its nature, there was no fixed time or place involved. Already he was thinking about the next fun cycling “event” to organise; watch this space…

As we stood there chatting, a few more people turned up on their bikes to take advantage of the local businesses. And by the time I headed back down Colombo towards the city centre again, more people were riding in the same direction.

Just imagine a Major Cycleway running down here...

Just imagine a Major Cycleway running down here…

It was never a torrent of people on their bikes, just a steady trickle. And maybe that’s all we can expect in Christchurch for now on a pleasant Sunday in May?Colombo-Beckenham2 Who knows; maybe as the Major Cycleway programme gets into full stride over the next few years, we will see an exponential growth in those who think that a cruisy ride for fun or to their favourite cafe is the way to go? Colombo-Sydenham2Colombo St north of the city is earmarked for one of the first Major Cycleway routes through to Edgeware and on to Papanui, so it will be interesting to see the effect that has.

Cycle Colombo was also about supporting local businesses while on your bike, so my last stop before heading home was for a quick drink and bite to eat in Beckenham. I sat there reflecting on a very pleasant couple of hours exploring what might just be “another street” to many, but is essentially the backbone of central Christchurch and can be a great place to ride.

Colombo-BeckenhamCafe

Good to see bike-racks outside businesses

What did you think of Cycle Colombo? Did you enjoy a nice day out riding?

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3 Comments

  • Connie
    20 May 2014, 12:36 am

    I had a fantastic ride on Colombo St admiring some Street Art with the Frocks on Bikes 😉

    REPLY
  • Alastair
    20 May 2014, 4:07 pm

    this is quite a good concept – “open street” without the bother of getting a road closure! Any reactions from people in cars, buses, etc?

    REPLY
  • Robert
    20 May 2014, 5:26 pm

    Hi Alastair. Thanks for your comment. I only sought feedback from participants and it was all good . I am not aware of any ‘incidents or reactions’ from other road users. The feedback I liked the best was from two youngish women who had no idea why they were riding along Colombo Street except one of them had read it on Facebook somewhere. They were both having a great time. You are right about the bother of getting a road closure ( this was easy to do ) not to mention the cost of doing that . I was happy enough with the day to want to have another go in the spring time. Perhaps this time, within the 4 avenues , or CBD would work ( Colombo Street is rather large, but at least if 1000’s had turned up we wouldn’t have had congestion issues. Ideas for a theme could include food caravans , or link it to another activity already happening in the CBD and do a travel by bike event. Other ideas are welcome. Regards Robert

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