Christchurch Go-By-Bike Day
160 muffins, 13L of coffee, 2 loaves of sourdough, and over 200 smiles served on bikes.
Go-By-Bike Day is a national day in February, bike month in New Zealand/Aotearoa, where people are encouraged to ditch their cars and ride their bikes to work/school. Christchurch has hosted a few in the past, to varying degrees of success, and this was my first attempt at co-organising with some amazingly dedicated and passionate people.
“Small by Wellington standards, but good to see a good number of happy Christchurch cyclists stopping in.” said a local rider on Facebook. I couldn’t help feel proud of the Cantabrians on bikes that decided to brave the rain that morning and show up. Free food and drinks goes a long way!
In 8 days, I gathered the troops to pull off a last-minute breakfast around Go-By-Bike Day. Action Bicycle Club’s owners Charlotte Bebbington and Ken Ching really stepped up to help bring bikes, photography and spot prizes! They provided a variety of bikes to the event, including awesome e-bikes with ability to serve drinks, food and carry heavy loads. I can always bring them my crazy bike event ideas and they give me just the encouragement to DO IT!
Ed Tanner from The Sailor’s Son is my go-to coffee guy. He is opening a cafe and coffee school next to Action Bicycle Club this year and I knew he’d be keen to serve some brew. He even gave away an aeropress to one lucky rider who hit the 8:30 giveaway time on the dot!
Molly Van Hart from Life in Vacant Spaces was also key in helping locate a site for the event in little to no time. She also has an awesome flatmate Emily who loves baking muffins!
By the end of the day, I secured almost all the goods — coffee, breakfast, location, date, time, and promotional materials.
On the corner of St. Asaph Street (a brand-new protected cycleway!) and Colombo St, the team held up posters and encouraged riders to pull over. It’s amazing what a few spirited people, chalk and poster signs can accomplish.
Music was playing, coffee was flowing and people arrived in swells. A few early-risers met us at 7am and the rest hit the 7:30, 8:00 and 8:30AM peak hours on the dot. A few stragglers were running late for meetings or too pre-occupied with work to stop. I get it — you’re busy. I hope you can stop next time.
The variety of riders was exciting! I know this isn’t surprising to some but when people on bike are labelled constantly, it’s good to see first-hand who’s out there. I encourage any councillor to sit on the corners we were at and have a look. Children (on and off their parent’s bikes), lycra, frocks, and I’d venture to guess there were more women riding — a positive sign of good cycling infrastructure in any city. Good work everyone!
I get major bike envy and I particularly love these events to spy what other people are riding. I love a good, old Raleigh or Morrison or a bespoke feature on different looking bikes. I find myself striking up conversations with new people by asking, “Where’d you get your bike?”. People LOVE talking about their bike. They shine with pride at the gift from a loved-one or special find in the rubbish or online. It’s also a fun way to catch up with people you always see on their bikes, but never time for more than a quick hello or ring of the bell.
Now that we have some momentum, we’re eager to host more events like this. It’s Bike Month after all!
Stay tuned to Action Bicycle Club’s Facebook page for more info on the next cool bikey event in Christchurch. Pedal on!
Photos by Charlotte Bebbington.