Sarah Bennett on Christchurch’s New Brighton Pier. Photograph / Lee Slater
Within the first in a brand new month-to-month sequence, Sarah Bennett and Lee Slater tour the sights of New Zealand cities and cities on two wheels. First up is Christchurch/Ōtautahi, the place post-quake improvement has taken biking to the subsequent degree.
Christchurch calls itself “town of biking” and backs this up with a quickly increasing community of cycleways and different bike-friendly services due to beneficiant authorities funding. Tens of millions extra have been put aside to finish main plans within the subsequent few years, with neighborhood teams additionally chipping in.
“We have seen improbable progress in biking in the previous couple of years,” says metropolis councillor Sara Templeton, who rides to work most days. “Our community is making it a lot simpler to get round, and it is nice to see extra guests utilizing it to see our sights.”
The lay of the land
The flat CBD and suburbs naturally lend themselves to biking, with spectacular post-quake city design profiting from it. Cyclists are nicely served by broad, clean shared pathways with wide-open sightlines, wonderful wayfaring and security signage, and a severe over-supply of parking and e-bike charging docks. Devoted cycleways stretch to all 4 corners, with gaps linked by on-road cycle lanes and backstreets.
The Port Hills on the southern fringe of town are much-loved by locals for mountain biking and highway using. Because of e-bikes and the Christchurch Journey Park, this hilly terrain is opening as much as a wider viewers.
Getting your bearings
Christchurch Metropolis Council produces the superb Bike Straightforward map detailing key routes and steering on getting round. Decide up a printed copy round city or obtain it from their web site the place you may discover heaps extra helpful information.
The city tour
We employed e-bikes from Chill bike store close to the Cathedral, the place proprietor Stu really helpful Te Ara Ōtākaro Avon River Path out to New Brighton seashore and again. This proved an excellent city explorer.
Following the willow-lined Avon for a lot of the method, the path additionally took us by the earthquake crimson zone – deserted suburbs with weedy streets and naked quarter-acre sections. Untamed bushes and shrubs are all that stay of once-loved gardens.
Stopping to eat a crimson ripe apple picked off the bough of a lonely tree, I thought of my Christchurch household simply after the quake. My sister desperately attempting to achieve her youngsters. My aged mom leaving the security of the RSA to wade by liquefaction, simply to get house. Irrespective of the place you come from, you may discover echoes of our shared historical past right here.
Leaving reminiscence lane, we continued alongside the riverside path dodging geese that stood in our method. At New Brighton, we detoured round South Shore spit through a waterside observe providing beautiful estuary views the entire method.
By the point we would had lunch and a stroll down New Brighton Pier, it was getting near beer o’clock. Utilizing our Bike Straightforward map, we adopted a sequence of cycleways and quiet backstreets to achieve the Tannery, house of Cassels brewbar.
Even in rush hour, the Heathcote Expressway bike route again to town centre was so secure we might have downed three pints as an alternative of 1.
Exploring the Port Hills
On our second day of sightseeing we headed for the hills with Phil and Lisa from Journey South NZ, a terrific bike tour firm with a depot on the sting of the CBD.
Hopping on e-bikes once more, we pedalled pretty effortlessly up the Rapaki Observe, a steep 4WD climb as much as the ridge separating Christchurch from Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō. From there we adopted the spectacular Summit Street all the way in which out to Godley Head/Awaroa.
Phil appeared like a damaged document as he pointed to miles and miles of tantalising single observe snaking across the hills. It left us eager as mustard to come back again with our personal bikes. I reckon we would want every week to do it justice.
From Godley Head, we headed round to Lyttelton through the Sumner Street, reopened final 12 months after epic earthquake repairs. It was an exhilarating downhill to the village the place we had lunch on the espresso store amidst a bevy of very bookish-looking locals.
The trip across the bays and up Dyers Move squeezed each final little bit of juice out of our e-bike batteries. Again on prime of the Port Hills, we rejoined the Rapaki Observe for the blast again right down to city. It had been an incredible day trip.
The Summit Street is a must-ride for its spectacular views in all instructions and a becoming grand finale at Godley Head – a traditional coastal lookout if ever there have been one.
It is a pity the e-biking solely burned a handful of energy as a result of we just about ate continuous. New Brighton’s Change cafe was extremely really helpful and didn’t disappoint. Cassels on the Tannery stays a favorite for beer & pizza. Lyttelton Espresso Firm served the very best vegetarian pie I’ve ever eaten (lentil and kumara, to be exact).
Within the metropolis centre, we liked breakfast at Unknown Chapter and dinner at Francesca’s Italian. The true fruit ice cream on the Fortunate Cup on Worcester Boulevard was yummy, too.
Do not miss
A noodle round Hagley Park. Whilst you’re there, wander by the beautiful Botanic Gardens (biking not permitted) and go to the Ilex constructing for espresso and a have a look at the very cool wee interpretation centre. It is like stepping inside a kids’s e book.
We wished to go to New Brighton’s new scorching pool advanced, He Puna Taimoana, however it was 28 levels within the shade. Possibly in winter.
Hazards and cautions
Apart from a recreation of hen with geese and the stress of dwindling e-bike energy, there was little to trigger alarm. The arterial routes across the CBD had been busy throughout rush hour, however there gave the impression to be good separation a lot of the method.
Bike City ranking
Christchurch units a excessive bar. It has capitalised on its pure benefits, forward-thinking city planning, and neighborhood buy-in to activate each commuter and leisure biking. The Avon River Journey and Port Hills loops are destined to mattress down as classics for out-of-towners, however the choices can be just about infinite earlier than lengthy.