It’s been a horrible week on New Zealand’s roads for cyclists. An eight year old girl was killed by a truck driver whilst cycling home from school a few days ago, and she was one of four cyclists that died on our roads. After last week’s travails trying to navigate one of Auckland’s busiest trunk routes, I decided the risk of becoming another sad headline was too great. I sat down with google maps and Auckland Transport’s cycling map to try and find a route that was less likely to make me a traffic statistic.
My new route is a couple of kilometres longer and unfortunately still requires about fifteen minutes along GSR, but now cuts out a large section of motorway-related and heavy-industrial traffic, which is a relief. The roads are still pretty busy for the most part, and there’s still barely any cycle lanes at all, but the road is wider and cars and the odd bus are far less intimidating than articulated lorries and trucks stuffed with sheep destined for the meatworks.
The bike went in for a 200km service at the start of the week, which was just a tune-up but good to have the whole servicing aspect checked out. The chain has (for a bike that’s kept almost exclusively indoors) mystifyingly rusted up a little which is a bit concerning but knowing I can swing by the store and get anything like that checked out is reassuring.
I’m still enjoying the F-19. It’s a fun bike to ride and I find myself having several discussions a week with complete strangers about it, which is quite nice. I’m getting used to the pedal assist and how to get the most out of it throughout my route, and my body is slowly adjusting to cycling a good 30+ kilometres a day, three(ish) days a week.
The thing that most people don’t seem to get about e-bikes is that it’s more about the bike than the e- prefix. I’m still cycling, I’m still exercising and I’m sure there’s a valid argument to be made that 20kg of e-bike really isn’t all that different to riding a light roadbike if you’re fit enough. For me, being able to dial up the pedal assist when pulling away from traffic lights, or when I’m feeling unsafe on a major road (which is more than I’d like to admit), or simply when I’m a bit tired and want to be home a bit quicker means that commuting every day doesn’t seem like some Herculean task compared to how it felt riding a conventional bike. It’s interesting the difference having a throttle makes psychologically!