Saturday, 9 May 2015

Ice creams and lunches

Today we just went for a “quickie” 9 km ride. Down to the local café to have lunch and a meander around the suburb. Nothing worth mentioning really, but as the weather has been less than bike-worthy (i.e. wet and windy), we’ve not been biking for over a week. Today it was fine but with a strong northerly, so we just went for an easy local ride, and lunch was the excuse.

Today’s heading refers to a ribbing I received from a friend a few days ago. She’s apparently an avid reader of my blog, but she loves to pull my leg about the fact that we often have an ice cream during or after our rides. Words to the effect that “you’re undoing all the good that the exercise does by having ice cream!”.

But to our way of thinking, the ice creams – or coffee and cake, or lunch ­– are all part of the enjoyable experience. We don’t bike to commute, or because there’s no other way to get from A to B. We bike because it is fun, enjoyable, it gets us into the fresh air, and it’s better than sitting at home watching the box. It’s exercise, and a small, single-scoop ice cream does us no harm. Little does she know, that we always have some chocolate on board as well. You never know when you might need it, when there’s no café or dairy in sight! Whittaker’s mini slabs are the perfect size for an on-road snack.

A well-deserved ice cream after biking over the Wangamoa Saddle in March
(photo by John)

And while I’m into philosophising about the whys and wherefores of biking …

When we decided to go out on the bikes today, I changed into my biking trousers (no, not lycra, heaven forbid!), and as we were putting on our helmets and bike gloves, it occurred to me, that if this was the Netherlands, we wouldn’t go to all that fuss. We’d just jump on our bikes and go. No getting changed, no helmets, no gloves. Biking – to work, to the supermarket, to the café, to the theatre – is so much part of just what you do in Holland. You would never write a blog about it!

Here in NZ, although cycling is becoming more common, we are still a bit unusual, being so keen on getting out there on our bikes.

I take an interest in the Facebook page of Cycle Aware Wellington, which is the group advocating for better biking conditions in Wellington. It makes for interesting reading. Many of the members have grumbles about the behaviour of some motorists, and about the slowness of the City Council to improve cycling conditions. But they also highlight some of the good things about biking, good motorists, innovations on the cycling front, and new cycle paths.

Most of the members appear to be bicycle commuters, and so are interested in safe riding through the city. They need to get to work and home again in the fastest and safest possible way. We are lucky in that we can choose when and where to ride, to ensure the least amount of risk.


  1. Unfortunately the topography of Welly and the narrowness of the streets makes it hard to retrospectively fit cycleways in without creating fun for other road users - unlike say Chrstchurch

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      I'd love to know: Are you a commuter or a City Councillor?