Well, after two weeks of walking/riding in consistently sub-zero temperatures around the US, it was certainly a pleasant change to put on my shorts and join about thirty others for a Lazy Sunday Cycle Christchurch Ride this past weekend.
Lazy Sunday started out as a concept over in Brisbane, Australia. The premise is simple: why not get together on a regular basis for a cruisy bike ride that’s not too hard and can appeal to anyone who wants to give it a go. Since late last year, this has now been picked up by an enthusiastic team here in Christchurch, and last Sunday was their fifth ride so far.
Sunday’s ride followed the banks of the mid-Heathcote River and started out near Opawa School. The official info said 1.30pm and we were told to get there at about 1.10. But, true to “lazy Sunday” style, people slowly made their way in and we didn’t actually get underway until after 2pm. No worries, no-one’s in a hurry to go anywhere on a sunny afternoon…
The Lazy Sunday team are very big on safety, so they make sure that everyone is accounted for and receives a safety briefing before heading off. Ride leaders (well identified by their distinctive t-shirts) also keep an eye on everyone at the front, back, and in-between. In practice, it was a very cycle-friendly route, with hardly any chances of encountering significant traffic, but it’s nice to know that the team are looking out for you.
It was great to see a many-varied bunch of people on the ride. We had a wide range of ages and abilities, with a few families with youngsters in the mix, and even a couple of women who hadn’t ridden in over a decade – fantastic! There were also some very styley-looking bikes on hand as well, if you’re looking for more than your average mountain-bike (I suspect that ViaCycles may have had something to do with a few of them…).
And what if you don’t have a bike on hand? Well, our good friends at Bicycle Ventures can supply you with one of their NextBikes free for the afternoon; a few people took advantage of that offer as well.
The ride itself was a very leisurely 7km up and down the banks of the Heathcote, via pathways and quiet streets. Now normally I could cover that distance in about 20-25 minutes, but with a Lazy Sunday ride it’s well over an hour with plenty of stops along the way to make sure everyone keeps up (even the littlies!).
Lots of time to chat to your ride partners or to hear a few “words of wisdom” about the route from some of the team leaders (in the case of this ride, that meant everything you ever wanted to know about ducks…).
Once back at the Opawa School start point, it was time for some of us to continue the discussions down the road at The Tannery (for some of those with kids, I think the playground was the next destination…). Always a great way to finish an afternoon’s ride with more conversations over a drink and some nibbles.
Well done to Jack, Tom, Gaby, Colin, Rob and the rest of the team for a very pleasant afternoon out. The plan is to try to have a similar ride on the last Sunday of every month (at least while the weather’s good), so keep an eye out on the Facebook page. Although the rides are free, you need to register for them, so that they can manage numbers.
Have you been on a Lazy Sunday Ride? What did you think?