Maybe the days of cars and trucks hogging the roads are lessening and the simple bicycle or more modern e-bikes are coming to the fore.
I recently became the proud owner of an e-bike, (effectively a battery-assisted bicycle). I have been biking pretty much all of my life, starting off cycling to school and then at times to work — depending on location. But since retiring I have been much more active.
The Wanganui Tramping Club has a cycling section, and this has become very popular with local trips every Tuesday morning and some away trips to other parts of New Zealand. I was a bit reluctant at first to purchase an e-bike, but others led the way and talked me into it. I am so glad they did. I can now tackle with ease any hill heading out of town, and there are many of them.
Brunswick Rd is a good example, and they lead to some excellent biking terrain with less traffic.
I was pleased to see a bridge is to be built very soon across the Whanganui River at Upokongaro. This will make an excellent round trip, particularly if there are also to be dedicated cycle lanes on both sides of the awa, but especially SH4, to make it safer and link up with existing dual walk/ride lanes that currently finish at the rail bridge.
It is a bit scary riding a bike, I must admit. Traffic can be fast and very unwilling to give way to cyclists, such as when turning left and letting the cyclist go ahead first rather than cutting in front. Just this week I was in the cycle lane going towards the river in Wilson St.
A big, black 4x4 came past, cut into the cycle lane and then turned into the Warehouse underground car park right in front of me.
I had to brake suddenly and got a bit angry, so I came back and went looking for the driver. He was busy with a cell phone, so I tapped on the window. When I asked him did he realise he had almost knocked me over, he said "I never even saw you". Considering I was wearing a bright green parka and a bright dayglo jacket over the top of that, I was astounded. Daylight conditions were excellent with some winter sun.
He did finally apologise and then went straight back to his texting. I suspect he was doing this while driving, and that was why he had failed to see me.
Texting and talking on the phone are very common faults of Whanganui drivers. I wish it would be policed more frequently.
On a more positive note: it is great to see the WDC putting in more dedicated cycle lanes and even some cycle traffic lights. Well done, and let's hope there will be more of them.
I read with interest some motorists are concerned that dedicated cycle lanes taking the place of dedicated left-turn lanes will cause more delays. Maybe the days of cars and trucks hogging the roads are lessening and the simple bicycle or more modern e-bikes are rapidly coming to the fore.
I, for one, hope so and encourage you to give it a go.
Ridgway Lythgoe is a retired DOC officer, keen environmentalist, tramper, traveller and more lately an avid e-biker