Flashback Friday: 2014 Winter Solstice Ride Highlights

It’s been a chilly couple of weeks in Christchurch (and much of the rest of the country apparently); a reminder that winter has arrived. It looks like the cooler temperatures are set to ease off from this weekend , which is quite encouraging for next week’s Winter Solstice Matariki Night Light Bike Ride 2023 (Wed 21st June from 5pm). So grab your friends and family, bling up your bikes, and head to the North Hagley Park gates at Armagh St for a friendly ride around the park on its many paths. At the moment, the forecast for the ride is looking lovely and fine and maybe even touching double digits… Nine years ago, we were lucky to experience a similarly lovely winter’s evening for the third instalment of this fun event, as first posted back in June 2014. See you next Wednesday!

Well, the contrast with last year’s chilly solstice ride couldn’t have been more stark. A lovely balmy winter’s day (17 deg I think) encouraged the punters out to Saturday’s 3rd Annual Winter Solstice Ride.

As the sun sets, lots of people turned out for the ride.

All up, I counted about 160 people (including a few stragglers) joining in the fun on the night. It was great to see so many kids there with their parents too, and it looked like most of them had a great time. There were all kinds of lighting schemes on display, from conventional bike lights to laser lights, LED strip lighting, Xmas-tree lighting, spherical lanterns – you name it, it was probably there.

Everyone noticed when Steven Muir’s cargo bike turned up – complete with a “bike songs” sound system!

The evening started with a safety/info briefing and a few informal awards handed out to various people for things like “brightest hat”, “best bike horn”, “person who arrived exactly on time”, etc. Then it was off for the ride! Unfortunately I was busy being “tail-end Charlie” to capture any photos along the way, but a few others caught some of the action (including The Press who were there at the start).

Some very cool lighting systems were evident on many bikes (c/ Fairfax)

It was great to see the line of lights and other bright things spreading out along the Hagley Park pathways. The spectacle also attracted passers-by; I heard plenty of cars tooting their enjoyment too. You can have a look at the event’s Facebook page to see some more pics from the night.

This many bikes can create a bit of a traffic jam in places… (c/ Bryan Muir)

The leisurely trek around North Hagley Park was all done and dusted by about 6.15; then it was off to Fiddlesticks Bar to continue the socialising and to celebrate the ride with a drink or two. Thanks Fiddlesticks for some great hospitality!

The all-important socialising at Fiddlesticks afterwards

Talking to organiser Ian Wells afterwards, he was very pleased with how the night had gone. And we agreed that it was too long to wait until next winter for another ride – people like an excuse to get out on their bikes. So maybe an “equinox ride” might be conjured up to herald the arrival of spring? Watch this space…

Will you join us on this year’s Solstice Ride?

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