It 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…
Further 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. There 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.
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!
North 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. Robert 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.
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? 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 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.
What did you think of Cycle Colombo? Did you enjoy a nice day out riding?