Cycling in Auckland part 2

Cycling on the footpath sucks. It really does. I’ve just returned from cycling Elizabeth to kindergarten and I’ve started cycling on the road for parts of the trip now. In fact, when I’m on my own cycling home I use the road almost the whole way.

Why? Because the footpath is difficult to navigate. It’s bumpy, filled with cracks, humps and dips, it stops and starts at every side road and is littered with driveways which are a hazards themselves. People backing out of driveways are often the worst when it comes to looking and giving way. I’m beginning to think the footpath is more dangerous than the road especially the bits that feel more like mountain bike terrain. Hit a bump at the wrong angle and we’d both go flying.

Cycling on the footpath makes the journey longer because I can’t cycle as fast – and note that I’ve got a four-year-old sitting on the back nagging me to, “Go faster, Mummy! Go faster!” – and I’m constantly stopping and starting which means I lose any momentum I gained on the downhills which could have been used on the uphills.

I want cycle paths!!! Auckland really is a dreadful place to be a cyclist.

8 thoughts on “Cycling in Auckland part 2”

  1. Sadly, in my Sus Dev course, Auckland was held up as a case study in very poor transport planning, with freeways cutting into and through the city, disjointed public transport and poor cycling provision. Paul Mees’ fantastic book ‘Transport for Suburbia’ was our guide, I’d highly recommend it to anyone who lives in or near a city.

    Here in Dublin, the city and the country were fortunately too poor in the 1980s to engage in the similar motorway through the city plan that was on the cards. It’s still poor but busways, two tram routes and cycling provision have improved things greatly. The city bike scheme is hugely successful and is now being greatly enlarged and extended. Cycling is still not hugely safe but it is getting better.

    1. Paul,

      Auckland was held up as a case study in very poor transport planning

      I am not at all surprised to read this. Auckland is a great case study in how *not* to build a city. The sad thing is that many people here now realise how dreadful transport planning has been but so much damage has already been done, like concrete motorways through the centre of town, that it’s hard to know where to start to fix it. Some might even say that auckland is beyond fixing.

      Thankfully we’re leaving the city. We’re moving to Aberdeen in October.

  2. It’s those bumps and cracks that really get you. I’ve even noticed that on our cycle paths in the countryside – they are great and safe and wide, but every road needs maintaining – nature’s out to get us!

    1. The bumps and cracks are bad. I’ve never been mountain biking and nor do I have any desire to go but cycling along the footpath today felt like a bumpy ride on a dirt track. Not my idea of fun!

  3. In Bonn (Germany) they also expect cyclists to use the footpath half of the time. Even if they are well maintained, this is not ideal. You have conflicts with pedestrians all the time and if you are new somewhere you have to find the right places to get on and off the sideways.

    The Netherlands is better, but because it used to be much worse in Bonn before, the locals are quite happy, they do not know how it could be.

    1. I think it’s actually illegal here to cycle on the footpaths. Only people who deliver mail, leaflets or newspapers are allowed to. I’m not sure why as there are so few pedestrians using them as they’re all sitting in cars. But there’s one stretch of footpath on this particular ride which is in very bad shape and really quite dangerous unless you’re cycling at walking pace. So on this part of my journey I think I’m safer on the road which is fairly wide at this point anyway. I’m also quite conspicuous I think as I’m not your usual Antipodean cyclist most of whom are men who look like they’re in a race with the clothing they wear and the bikes they ride. I wear dresses or skirts, have a very bright bicycle with a child on the back and have long blonde hair. I rarely see any other cyclists on the road at all. There are just so few. It’s completely different to cycling in Europe.

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