Getting back on the bike
Glow sticks, letters and numbers stickers, pipe cleaners and bike helmets – what do these all have in common? A Bike Crafternoon.
Part cycle scavenger hunt, part degustation tour through Mount Maunganui restaurants, the Crafternoon was the brain-child of a friend who wanted to do something a bit different for her birthday celebration.
From BMX bikes to cruisers, we took part in an afternoon of decorating our helmets, quizzes on the birthday girl and her favourite music, a few rounds of pool and a bit of friendly competition, ending with watching the sunset from Pilot Bay. It was a great way to enjoy the summer sun, dodge the traffic and earn our dinner.
That was only the third time I had been on a bike for an extended period of time all year; the other times being a very nervous pedal through the Redwoods and Summerhill where the risk was much higher.
While my partner regularly commutes the 11km between our home and his office, I never saw the appeal of travelling by bike. As a kid, growing up on an orchard in Central Otago, I loved a good hoon on the BMX, but as I got older (and got a car) I lost touch and, in the process, lost cycle confidence.
That's why events and activities such as my friend's Crafternoon are perfect for people like me. Taking to two wheels as part of group in a very casual setting was a great way to reacquaint myself with a bike. In fact, it has inspired me to do more over the summer holidays – even if it is just a cruise along Mount Main Beach to the ice-cream stand!
Next year, Sport Bay of Plenty's Play in the Bay initiative is holding a month-long calendar of events in February, activities, workshops and educational seminars all focused on bikes for all ages, abilities and confidence levels, so people like me can actually enjoy cycling as both a form of transport and a hobby.
The calendar includes social group cycles, information about e-bikes, scavenger hunts, family orientated rides and, like the Crafternoon, group trips that end at a food-filled destination. Plus, if you need an incentive there are prizes galore – just simply for taking part!
With traffic increasing and a greater awareness of health and fitness, there's never been a better time to pick up a bike and put pedal to the metal.
For a full list for events near you, visit www.sportbop.co.nz/bike-month