Pedal Power – Inspiration from New York and Wellington’s Bicycle Experts

 

Advocating for improved biking conditions is nothing new for an environmental group based in New York City called Time’s Up! These avid bike enthusiasts are all about living in a less toxic and more sustainable environment. They are community minded and are particularly concerned with protecting public spaces from increasing privatisation. The members of Time’s Up! believe that biking is a great way to promote community spirit and sustainability. Here are just a few of their creative group rides.

The Doggie Pedal Parade: promoting the ways that bikes can be adapted to allow your pet to travel on board, as well as spreading the message of “adopt a pet”.

The Graffiti Ride: a bike trip showcasing street art, including some of the not so well known. There is also a discussion regarding street art history and its implications.
The Green Apple Ride: An eco-road-trip which explores greenways, riversides, green building sites and solar energy projects.
For Time’s Up! members, riding in a group proved a safer way to bike, but also became an effective tool for collective action. Pro-biking celebrations known as “critical mass rides” originated in San Francisco in September 1992, and it was not long before they started to gain popularity worldwide. A year later in NYC, hundreds of bike enthusiasts began to gather on mass at Times Square on the last Friday of every month.  Their intention ws to promote the idea of non-polluting transport, cycle safety, more bike lanes, and green-minded infrastructure.  At times these pro-bike gatherings were intercepted by the police and they often turned confrontational. The bikers persisted with critical mass rides and eventually safer and greener infrastructures were incorporated into the environs of NYC.
Critical Mass has also spread to some main New Zealand cities such as Wellington & Auckland but has lost some momentum in the last few years.
If you are interested in knowing more about the history of Critical Mass, check out this YouTube clip called "Still We Ride

Time’s Up! also run a bicycle co-op, consisting of  two workshops staffed by volunteer mechanics.  These bike mechanics offer free classes and instructions on how you can fix your own bike. There is also a bike recycling programme, where bikes can be purchased at an affordable cost.
Find out more about Times Up! and their bike workshop at www.timesup.org.
Did you know the Wellington suburb of Te Aro has its own bike champions? Mechanical Tempest DIY Community Bike Shop supports sustainability and biking by recycling and repurposing bike parts. Below is a photo of an amazing chandelier that these bike artists have fashioned out of a bicycle rim and chains.
At Mechanical Tempest you can learn to fix and maintain your bike from the volunteer bike mechanics. You can even borrow a bike!!!  Their workshop is based at Abel Smith Street and    here’s the link to their website http://www.mechanicaltempest.co.nz/about/
The suburb of Newtown has a specialist bike shop called Bicycle Junction. They are the only suppliers in NZ to stock the Brompton folding bike, and they also import cargo bikes. Check them out at http://www.bicyclejunction.co.nz  
 
Bicycle Junction also supports the “Need For Tweed” group ride in Wellington. The concept originated in London in 2009 – participants must don a tweed item of clothing for the ride. Registration is required and there are prizes for the best dressed.