READER REPORT:

I want to ride my... Cycling is a way of life

JOHN CHRISTIE
Last updated 11:30 20/12/2012

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In the last five years I have used a car to travel the 20 kilometre journey to work only twice. In one case all three of my bikes were being repaired, and in the other I had to carry home a load of cutlery and crockery.

What about rain or punctures or both at once? The thing is to do it and you gradually learn more efficient or more comfortable methods.

We go shopping by bike (with a bike trailer if it won't all fit in a backpack), and for the last few years we have gone on holiday by bike. Last summer we travelled by boat and train from Christchurch to Hamilton and then biked back to Masterton via East Cape and eastern Hawkes Bay.

Trains and boats got us back from Masterton to the Christchurch railway station, and from there we biked the last 10km home.

We have evolved in to this way of life gradually. Turning points have occurred when we think we have to get the car out but then one of us says, 'Why don't we bike?', and we realise we don't have to use the car.

Our motivations include health benefits, cost savings (about $15 per day for my work commute), avoiding traffic, and cycle training as we both do a few bike races each year.

The main downside is the risk of injury from collisions with cars. With experience you get better at anticipating potential collisions and though I've had lots of near misses, my last actual collision was in 1978.

The introduction of cycle lanes and other infrastructure is slowly improving things. There have also been moves to improve driver education, especially in the road transport industry, so that big trucks are probably the safest vehicles on the road from a cyclist's point of view. And contrary to what most non-cyclists believe, state highways and other open roads are not dangerous. Almost all encounters with motor vehicles occur inside towns and cities.

Why do you choose to bike, bus, walk or drive? Click the big green button to share your story.


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