by Jenny Marshall
Cycling blogs are a growing phenomenom that arguably started with the rise of blogs such as Copenhagen Cycle Chic and Copenhagenize.
For those that have not come across blogs before, blogs are a type of website where ‘bloggers' write regular articles or ‘posts' on a particular subject of interest. The strength of blogs is that they enable anybody to: voice their opinions, thoughts, and concerns; start a conversation on any particular topic; and have their posts read and commented on by anyone around the world. Whereas in the past only ‘official' channels and formal groups were the purveyors of information on a subject, the rise of blogs has meant a more democratic, balanced and ‘on-the-street' perspective can be accessed by a wide audience.
Jenny Marshall was inspired by Copenhagen Cycle Chic to set up Auckland Cycle Chic in April 2009. She blogged under the pseudonym ‘Unity Finesmith', as she was new to blogging and was a bit nervous about revealing her true identity. The name has stuck, and Unity has become Jenny's online persona. Auckland Cycle Chic was the first Cycle Chic blog in the Southern Hemisphere, but the Cycle Chic movement has now spread worldwide and has a staggering number of participant blogs across the globe, including several in Australasia.
Auckland Cycle Chic rapidly grew in popularity and provides an interesting photographic commentary on people who ride bicycles in their normal clothes to get around Auckland.
Prompted by the need for a central point of contact for everyday transport cyclists in Auckland, Unity then set up the Cycling in Auckland blog with the help of Su Yin in February 2010. The Cycling in Auckland blog (CIA) was set up as a group blogging website where a range of bloggers with different perspectives and interests could write about current issues, events, and their ideas on cycling in Auckland. CIA quickly became a success and currently averages approximately 600 views a day from all over the world.
Shortly after setting up CIA, Unity was contacted by Lisa from Wellington, who wanted to set up a Cycling in Wellington website using the same formula. Cycling in Wellington (CIW) was born in August 2010 and provides a great resource for Wellingtonians to find out what's happening in their area.
From there it seemed only natural that a Cycling in Christchurch website should be built and, with the help of friends from Spokes and Frocks on Bikes in Christchurch, Unity established Cycling in Christchurch (CIC) in May this year. CIC is a run away success with a rapidly growing number of followers. It is providing a wonderful resource for finding out what is happening (or not happening) for cycling in the Christchurch rebuild and people's thoughts and ideas on the subject.
Each of these websites evidently fulfills a thirst for information from real on-the-streets transport cyclists as combined they delivered over 33,000 page views last month alone.
The overarching aim of the websites is twofold:
- To grow the number of people using a bicycle to get from A to B by sharing ‘on the street' knowledge about cycling, encouraging ‘almost cyclists' to take that next step, and providing invaluable guidance to those who are new to cycling for transport;
- To encourage government to realise the potential for cycling as a key means of transport.
The websites provide the opportunity for everyone to register their support for cycling via the ‘vote for bicycles' polls on each site, or provide their ideas by commenting on any of the posts.
We invite you to check out these websites and join the conversation.
Auckland Cycle Chic: http://aucklandcyclechic.blogspot.co.nz
Cycling in Auckland: http://cyclingauckland.co.nz
Cycling in Wellington: http://cyclingwellington.co.nz
Cycling in Christchurch: http://cyclingchristchurch.co.nz
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to write a guest post or become a regular blogger on any of these websites.