Kia ora, my name is Nic Bishop. I bought my first ever bike myself at age 39, so that I could live – not so that I could die. Recent days and weeks have seen multiple stories of tragic near misses and fatalities of people getting on with their day by bike. I’m not going to focus on the tragedy or the dangers (others far more skilled and knowledgeable on road design, funding issues and the like I’ll leave to cover that), but rather the opportunity and the synergy that can be unlocked by getting peeps on bikes.
My previous bike, shown below was the prize I won from Auckland Regional Council about 10 years ago for being a super user of public transport. It was a foldable bike (Giant) and man I thought it was cool back then. Now it seems heavy and clunky, but I still love it, and thought it was great that Council were using incentives to raise awareness and promote the use of public transport and cycle commuting. About 7 years ago I stopped using the train, I had to do the hard slog from Pt Chev – Britomart then to Takanini each day, and train reliability and timeliness was abysmal. But you know what, if I was working in Takanini still, with my new bike, an ebike – I just might consider it.
Pic one: ARC foldable & my son Jack (7) – his first time riding the Light-path
I work in East Tamaki these days, and live in Grey Lynn – so a bit of a hike each day with all the traffic challenges we all know about with Auckland. I’ve been blown away, how in just 2 weeks my ebike has changed my life! While I drive an EV, I was always conscious that it’s just one more box on the road, causing congestion. I work as the Head of Sustainability at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, so for me, walking the talk is a must – for Sustainability reasons, as well as the healthcare impacts.
My team estimated that with the additional 1000 employees that we expect at our site (we already have 2500) in the next ten years, that if we encourage them into EV’s, public transport and cycling to work – we can reduce the carbon footprint of our employees getting to work by 4000 tonnes of CO2e per year. That number might not mean much to many, but to me I can see that it’s huge. It equates to 10% of the total global carbon footprint of my organisation, just getting our people to site (we were all a bit blown away by this).
That 4000 tonnes of CO2e is more than the emissions linked to the running of our site operations (that’s just crazy eh!). So for me, this is where the first piece of synergy can be found. Those who bike, are saving the planet & this can be calculated as significant – so far we’ve just estimated it, but we can do some LCA life cycle (ha) assessment. I know that an EV use in NZ has 80% less air pollution across it’s lifecycle, so ebikes should sit higher than that even. So, new bike – here it is;
Pic two: Reid Urban+
I was a bit excited getting my first bike/ebike and all, the first bike that I’ve ever chosen, so as a part time ebike commuter (5 days per fortnight when I don’t pick up my kids) – I thought I’d give it a nudge and was excited to try out the cycleways and figure out which ways are the best, easiest, safest, fastest etc. Below are the routes I scoped in episodes 1-5 of my new life as a part-time ebike commuter & yes Ben – via status updates – it really happened!
Pic three: Highly valid stat – with a low bar to beat – but coming out as an ebiker is my most liked Tweet.
Episode 1: Monday May 7th (To work – Bike to Newmarket / train to Otahuhu – ride to East Tamaki early to avoid the traffic – #scaredy-cat & after work full of bravado crosstown East Tamaki – Onehunga – SW cycle path way home);
Episode 2: Thursday May 10th (To work – downtown meetings, then to St Heliers – East Tamaki – Ti Rakau (footpath as Ti Rakau seemed too full on) – then home up the guts via Great South once the traffic had eased);
Episode 3: Monday May 14th (To work – SW cycleway & Waikaraka cycleway – then home same way);
Episode 4: Thursday May 17th (To work – Mt Eden Rd – Great South – then a bit of reconnaissance heading home via the airport (checking on capacity and security for bike parking at the airport) and seeing the ebike sights (Airport / Rocket Lab / Dominion Rd, Lightpath / Te Ara I Whiti / Skytower) *(ebike battery test)).
This was an awesome ride, and the battery was really good, I switched between high / normal / eco depending on the hills, and only used the high setting with steep hills. Was only after the slog up College Hill after 65km’s today that I needed to save the battery until heading up to Westmere – no way I would have covered this distance normally!
Episode 5: Friday May 18th (my first #friding) – To the airport for a flight to Welli – then back Saturday & a cruise up the SW cycleway / NW cycleway).
I’m really proud to have up to 100 peeps at my work who cycle commute to work (we were 2nd for large orgs in the Akl Bike Challenge) seeing those guys and gals getting into it despite the gaps in the cycle network motivated me to make the jump, and the ebike has got my hooked!
I’d like to get that to 500 peeps on bikes. How cool would that be!! My ebike has moved me from a wannabe-fit guy, to someone with sore legs and a sore butt who has covered more than 280kms with just 5 days riding. For me I can see the health and wellbeing benefits as well as the environmental ones. #LoveMyEbike
So, here’s my list of Best – worst;
Best cycle route – NW easy – after 9 riding legs elsewhere then to swing onto the NW to get home today was like wow – gold plated in comparison;
Easiest cycle route – with an ebike any dedicated cycleway – although finding the Waikaraka cycleway at night from the east was a mission as a beginner;
Safest cycle route (non dedicated cycleway) – I was happily surprised that James Fletcher Drive / Favona Road was good to cycle on, maybe just due to the width of the road. So far drivers have all been good there.
Fastest cycle route – Straight up Great South Rd, but way more challenging due to random ending bits of bike path.
Worst maintained cycle path – easily Highbrook Drive (shared path) – crazy amount of debris both side near the bridge at the motorway end.