Welcome to Chainlinks newsletter. Thanks for supporting better biking in New Zealand.
Looking ahead in 2020
Where will your bike take you this year?
Whether it's from Cape Reinga to Bluff, like CAN supporter Jess Mazengarb, or across town, there's never been a better time to get on your bike.
Our Government has firmly grasped the value of investing in cycling. It's making connections with health, better cities, and well-being. There's more funding than ever for cycling projects. I'm delighted that full funding for SkyPath and SeaPath was confirmed yesterday.
But it's not all easy cruising. Some Councils have lost momentum in their cycling projects. Bikelash is a thing. I think we've got better at making our case and building relationships, but we have much to do. There's never been a better time to push for better biking, healthy streets, and great cities.
Whatever your riding plans this year, I wish you tailwinds.
Project Manager, CAN
by Patrick Morgan
Got any summer plans?
We took a short train and bike tour from Wellington to Otaki Forks in January. I call this a 'near-cation'. I recommend Siggy's pie shop in Waikanae and Ruth Pretty's cafe at Te Horo, on School Rd. At Otaki Forks, DoC has a lovely campsite. You can swim in the river, bush walk, or walk, or laze around.
RIP Alastair Smith
By Patrick Morgan
It is with a sad heart I must share the news that CAN volunteer Alastair Smith passed away on 20th November.
In July 2018, Alastair received a Bike to the Future Award for Outstanding contribution to a bike-friendly future. This award recognises the outstanding contribution made by an individual to the promotion of cycling.
In June 2017, Alastair was honoured with an Absolutely Positively Wellington Award, recognising his years of outstanding service to the people of Wellington.
By Claire Sherrington, acting CAN Chairperson
We are looking for fresh ideas, talent and enthusiastic people for the CAN Board and management. Last year I stepped down from the governance/management role after over 5 years of volunteering. But I am keen to still be involved in a role of seeking funding opportunities. Also, I am still involved in cycling. I will doing more cycling coaching and getting local people more active. If you are interested in a governance or management role please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org and/or come to CAN Do More hands make light work!
This is a big year of opportunity for CAN work, as it’s an election year. We advocate to candidates across New Zealand with a set of key messages from CAN. We use these messages to highlight their transport policy, and specifically their election promises around cycling. The 2017 election was successful, with a growing number of cycling-friendly MPs.
Let’s do this again!
Welcome to CAN Do, CAN's annual get-together. The weekend includes our AGM, workshops, training, rides, plenty of food and drink, and a chance to catch up with fellow "CANners" from around New Zealand, at the home of High Performance Cycling in New Zealand.
Date: 29 February, 2020
Location: Avantidrome, 15 Hanlin Road, Cambridge
You will supercharge your advocacy skills, with training on effective messaging, networking, and campaigning.
This year you get to try track cycling on a UCI track. acting CAN Chair Claire Sherrington, as an accredited cycling coach will be running sessions for those of us who want to pedal the boards.
Don't worry if track cycling is not your thing, the Avantidrome is one of the stops on the Te Awa, The Great New Zealand River Ride. From the Avantidrome it's a short pedal in to Cambridge, which after having State Highway 1 moved from traversing the village is undergoing an urban resurgence, with cycling being one of the key transport modes.
By Patrick Morgan
Do you want to learn more about how cycling fits into city life? In 2019 I attended Planning the Cycling City at summer school in Amsterdam. Now you can take the same course online, at no cost. Highly recommended.
Here's the blurb:
Obscured by its apparent simplicity, cycling is a complex phenomenon. Being an almost perfect human-machine hybrid, cycling is deeply rooted in a plethora of socio-technological systems.
Around the world cycling is embraced as an important ingredient to tackle a wide variety of individual and societal challenges. The Netherlands is often seen as an ideal living lab, because cycling has retained its significant share of mobility throughout the country. At the same time, there are large differences in developments across time and space, that allows for a better understanding of potential causal relations. This is also increasingly recognized by (inter)national top tier researchers from many different academic fields. They are uncovering reciprocal relations of cycling with spatial, ecological, historical, social, cultural, economic, biological and political structures.
Unraveling the Cycling City bundles the state-of-the-art knowledge that emerges from research and practice on the Dutch cycling system. As such, it provides an easily accessible platform to learn about important causes and effects, to open minds for the complexity of the entire system and to support group deliberations around the world.
By Jess Mazengarb
Four and a bit years ago I was rudely reminded of my mortality when I was given a cancer diagnosis and told that my prognosis was not good. Treatment was torturous, but even worse was the crippling anxiety. One of the few escapes I had was to get on my bike and ride. It let me pretend that I was still in control of my body and forget that it was staging a mutiny. Riding gave me a way to live in the moment - important when you don’t know how many moments you might have.
Two and a bit years later, I was NED (no evidence of disease, which means you get to assume you’re cancer-free) and starting to recover from treatment.
On the evening of my 38th birthday, I was riding around the Wellington bays with a friend when I came around a corner and found myself face-to-face with another abrupt reminder of the fragility of my existence. A head-on collision with a car on the wrong side of the road left me with two broken vertebrae, a broken scapula, a broken tibia and fibula, bruised lungs, and a traumatic brain injury.
I was asked many times in the following months why I would ever want to get back on a bike. The answer was easy - riding makes me happy.
Although the road was a scarier place for me than it had been, I was determined not to let fear (or injury, or illness, or really shitty luck) win. So instead, I decided to double down. I decided to make a bucket list of bicycle adventures. The first item on the list was the Tour Aotearoa. In February I plan to set about ticking that item off.
Hopefully my broken body will last the distance. And hopefully I can raise some money for Cycling Action Network in the process, because the only thing more satisfying than getting on a bike, is helping someone else get on one.
Peace, love, and bicycles.
By Sarah Bennett
OPINION: Talk about right time, right place. Former prime minister John Key is at a job summit early in 2009 when an attendee bends his ear about the potential of recreational cycle trails.
Nek minnit, there's $50 million government bucks in the bank to build a continuous cycleway running the length of the country.
And so Sir John's name will forever be synonymous with one of the most significant recreational assets created in New Zealand in my lifetime.
Not so well known are names like Rod Peirce, Phil Rossiter and Glyn Wooller, all of whom had new shared-use trails in their sights well before a national cycleway was mooted.
By Claire Sherrington
I am saddened by the number of cyclist deaths. In 2019 year we recorded 16, nine more than 2018. The youngest was Jonathan Michael Woollaston, just two years old on the Pioneer Highway shared path in Palmerston North. The oldest was Tangiwai Lyola Cotter, 80, on Marine Parade, Napier. Jonathan and Tangiwai were somebody's son, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, friend, and neighbour. I have ridden in both these places myself, is that just luck it wasn't me? Or CAN we make it safer for all people on bikes?
In contrast, I cycled from Picton to Bluff in December, which exposed me to riding on many highways and secondary busy roads. I experienced massive improvement in motorists’ attitudes, 95 percent of them treated me as an equal road user. (I gave up road cycling for 10 years in Wellington due to the danger, and started back over the last few years in the Waikato). Even oncoming motorists gave me a wave! I believe the tide is starting to turn with motorists’ attitudes, even if it's only in parts of our country. We still have much to do.
By Bevan Woodward
The Government has released its Road to Zero road safety strategy and action plan.
An initial review of the action plan reveals some key initiatives:
It may not meet all of our expectations but I thought this was a pretty good Christmas present from the Government.
CAN members have been on three advisory groups, helping the Government create the new strategy.
Cycling Action Network of New Zealand (CAN)
Our mailing address is
Cycling Action Network of New Zealand (CAN)
PO Box 25-424
Get social with CAN
Social media is an important tool for cycling advocates. It helps us make a compelling case for change. We use it to tell our stories. It helps us connect with our members and grow support.
Follow CAN and join the conversation.
Twitter: @CyclingActionNZ and @patrickmorgan
The views expressed in Chainlinks are not necessarily those of CAN. Some images courtesy of NZTA. Editor: Andrezza Marques