Peddling the benefits of cycling

Cycling is one of the key modes of active transport, along with walking and jogging. We all know the benefits that these activities bring – they keep us physically fit, allow us to breathe in the fresh air and appreciate our surrounds, give us a mental boost, plus saves us money.

Of course there are major benefits for the environment by having less cars on the road. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report tells us that we must change the way we move to help address the climate change crisis. This means adopting more means of active transport.

Nelson has the highest rate of New Zealand cities for its participation in active transport with a rate of 18.3% compared to 9.7% nationally according to the 2013 Census which we can be proud of. We also have an amazing network of cycle lanes – google “Way 2 Go Links Nelson” to find a map which includes the existing lanes and shortcuts.

The Local Election candidates are also showing their commitment to the active transport movement. Stuff have just published their ranking for questions relating to the climate crisis https://interactives.stuff.co.nz/2019/09/the-voting-climate/ which shows us that most candidates have committed to prioritising greater availability of non-vehicle transport.

Even with our impressive rates of active transport use, how do we convert even more people and in particular, get more people using bikes?  

The Nelson Environment Centre is working with local Cycling experts to help get more Nelsonians riding regularly. Having access to a bike can be a major barrier and we are excited to be a part of the Bike Fix Up Day on Saturday 28th September at Saxton Field. We have mechanics coming along to help repair donated second-hand bikes to share with some lucky community members. We expect there will be more of these events to come, so watch this space.

Having the skills and confidence to ride can also hold people back, which is where Cycling Courses offered by the Nelson City Council can help – email kym.smith@ncc.govt.nz to register your interest in the October series. If you have children you can start early to build their confidence on the bike. The Saxton Velodrome is a great place for families to practice and learn road rules and above all, have fun. Happy Riding!

Jess Ettridge