There is a huge amount of bicycle commuting here. One of the reasons for this is a public transport system called BICING. I was bamboozled at first trying to work out how the system works. Essentially it works like the similar successful bike rental systems in Paris and Stockholm and uses similar commuter friendly bikes. After beating the streets I was really keen to getting in on this wonderful system so we could rip around the city on the huge amount of cycle lanes but ALAS! No touristos! All of the instructions on the booths are in Spanish and Catalan only and the phone number listed only has recorded options in Spanish. I figured this must be designed for Catalans and residents only, maybe to minimise the amount of bikes ridden into the sea, trashed and misplaced by drunken tourists. So I Wiki’d it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicing and found out it’s an annual subscription rental (super cheap) only for Nationals. The reason is that the local bike hire companies demanded protection for their businesses. Fair enough I guess, bummer for me though. But the system is really efficient – you pick up a bike from one of hundreds of parking racks after scanning your keyring chip on the booth. There are over 90,000 subscribers and millions of commuter miles travelled by bike per year in the city as a result.
I’ve seen so many people use these – you just drop it off locking 2 pins in the front into an empty docking slot after riding to your destination and the first 30 mins are free.
I’m determined to do more in the future to encourage the council in Auckland and get involved with the existing lobby groups to get cycle paths introduced on the side of Auckland roads. Preferably OFF the road itself. On our trip last month to Melbourne we rode along the Yarra bike path which winds for over 50km along the riverside and is fast and efficient and avoids cars and roads all together. London was pretty shit for bike commuting but alot better than Auckland because it has cycle lanes on most roads.
The reason I’m fired up about this is because I got word that Jeff got car doored YET AGAIN in Auckland yesterday. This time it was on K Rd. He’s OK but he’s been so lucky not to suffer a serious injury over the last year. Hopefully it won”t be decades until we see operational SAFE cycle tracks in NZ cities and sites like this in Auckland: