Open Streets Ciclovía – Sun July 14th

{UPDATE: OpenStreets has now been postponed until SUN 29TH SEPTEMBER, due to anticipated weather conditions this weekend}

{NEW POST, 12 JUL: How to get to Open Streets on Sunday}

Alright, I confess, a few months ago when I raised the idea here about a ciclovía, I wasn’t just shooting the breeze. I was aware that some thinking was happening about bringing one to Christchurch. That idea is now becoming a reality, thanks to the City Council and a few other keen bods, with the very first Christchurch “Open Streets” scheduled for Sunday 14th July from 10am to 4pm!


So what is Open Streets? Basically a circuit of town will be shut off from motor traffic for six hours, allowing anyone on a bike, scooter, skateboard, wheelchair, their feet or whatever to enjoy the streets all to themselves. Throughout the day there will be plenty of interesting activities going on to keep everyone entertained. Details are still being finalised on various things, but I’ll try to explain the gist so far below; more details will be coming on the Open Streets website. (NB: some things may still be subject to change)

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about...
Now THAT’S what I’m talking about…

The Open Streets route will basically take in a rough rectangle around Gloucester St, Oxford Tce, Hereford St and Manchester St (and a bit of High/Cashel to avoid some building work) with some spurs out along Colombo St and Worcester St. The streets around Cathedral Square should also be available for activities as well. There are a couple of sections on Gloucester and Hereford where some traffic access still has to be maintained, so only half the road width will be available there. But all up, together with some of the adjacent pedestrian spaces, that makes for over 3km of streets to stretch your legs free of traffic!

The Open Streets circuit (click to enlarge)
The Open Streets circuit (click to enlarge)

So, other than just wandering around traffic-free, what is proposed for Open Streets?

  • Exciting demonstrations of bike polo, and roller derby – if you’ve never seen these; they’re well worth a gander!
  • You’ve seen the Dutch-style intersections in the new Council design guidelines. Now you can try one for yourself! A mock-up of such an intersection will be constructed (complete with kerb islands and separated green cycleways) so that you can picture how it might work, and give it a go. Guides will also be on hand to explain it all and to receive feedback.
Dutch-style intersection design
Dutch-style intersection design – coming to a city near you soon…
  • For the kids (or the kids-at-heart) a “pump track” loop will be set up for racing around on your bike.
  • Does your bike need a bit of minor fixing up but you’re not sure how to do it? Bring it along for a free tune up by the team from IceCycles.
New Spokes Chair Keith Turner is a dab hand with the spanner too...
New Spokes Chair Keith Turner is a dab hand with the spanner too…
  • If you want to leave your bike for a while and wander around on foot, valet bike parking immediately to the north and south of the main circuit (see bike symbols on map) will ensure that your trusty steed is safe and secure.
  • In need of some cycle fashion inspiration? Perhaps you’ve seen the lovely folk from Frocks on Bikes or the Tweed Riders and want to have a go yourself? There will be a fashion parade to demonstrate how you can rock your bicycle in style and the public are encouraged to enter. [UPDATE:] Keen participants to meet on the corner of Gloucester & Colombo street corner at 12.30pm to line up and get ready to hit the run way, with the parade starting at 1pm (should be all finished by 1.45pm). The Categories are:

    There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd, & spot prizes. Judges are: Kaila Colbin from The Ministry of Awesome, and Coralie Winn from Gap Filler. “French Frocks On Bikes” will also be doing a twirl.

Some of the frocker fashion on display at the last NZ Cycling Conference in Hastings
Some “frocker” fashion on display at the 2012 NZ Walk/Cycle Conference, Hastings
  • Perhaps you’d like to try out some interesting novelty bikes, cargo bikes, trikes – there’ll be various ones on hand to have a play with. There’ll also be an antique bike display, with pre-1900 “velocipedes” – come and see how they used to ride!
  • If you still need to burn off some more energy, perhaps you could watch a movie or have a milkshake – all powered by your own bike energy!


...and Movies
…and Movies
  • Scooter and skateboard fans can try out the mini skate park ramps that will be set up (I’m sure the ordinary kerbs and quake bumps will provide enough of a challenge too…). There’ll also be free skate hire and lessons.
  • Perhaps you’ve seen the bike racks on the buses but been a bit hesitant to give them a try. There’ll be a bus parked up where you can have a go trying out the bike-racks, without all the pressure of a “live” situation.
OK, how does that bike get on there...?
OK, how does that bike stay on there…?
  • As well as the many biking activities, there’ll also be plenty of things to do on foot as well, including mass aerobics and dance classes, “urban orienteering”, a Library To Go, and of course just wandering around enjoying the sights.

All this activity will require a bit of volunteer assistance and that’s where we need your help! As Steven has already alluded to, volunteers are needed to look after activities like the bike parking, tune-up workshops, setting up equipment, roving guides, etc. Just spare 4-5 hours of your time and you get to enjoy the other half of the day at the event itself (plus get a few goodies to say thanks). The City Council is looking for about 60 volunteers – have a read of this information sheet and complete the registration form and send it in to Council no later than Mon July 1st[Registrations now closed for volunteers, thanks]

So mark Sun 14th in your calendar now, bring along the whole family and make a day of it. If all goes well, this might be the start of a regular series of Open Streets events. Closer to the date there’ll be more details about the best ways to get into town, whether that’s by bike, foot, bus or driving. Hopefully the weather will also play its part by putting on a gorgeous Canterbury day!

See you at Open Streets!

8 thoughts on “Open Streets Ciclovía – Sun July 14th”

  1. This is brilliant! Unfortunately there is no way I can be there but I really hope this is going to be huge success. Hopefully you will get much publicity in the press because this initiative has much potential. It might attract some people who are usually not very comfortable sitting on a bike. Great activities too, it all sounds really well organised.

  2. Due to the expected weather conditions this weekend, Open Streets has now been postponed until Sun 29th September – let’s hope that spring brings us some nicer riding conditions!

  3. Is it possible to get this website updated with the correct date? I was going to forward it to people, but I thought they might be a bit confused.


  4. Better yet, I was going to create a completely new post for the coming event. Had a mtg at CCC yesterday and just waiting for info about what has changed for the coming event. So give me a day or two.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *