How I get around Auckland: An architect's bike ride from Freemans Bay to K' Rd

by Vomle Springford / 09 November, 2017

Christina van Bohemen, architect and president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

Going from Freemans Bay to Ironbank on Karangahape Rd

Mode of transport Bicycle

What type of bike do you have?

My bike is a Gazelle Bloom. I admired my Dutch cousin’s bike that I saw in a Facebook photo and he (from Holland) got on TradeMe and found this one for sale second hand in Whangaparaoa. It’s actually a ‘mother’s bike’ (moederfiets in Dutch). It came with children’s seats in front and behind the driver but I don’t have children so the seats were removed.

What do you use your bike for?

It is my primary means of transport. I ride to work, to meetings in the city, and to dinner with friends. Big panniers turn it into a station wagon. They get used for #quaxing and for getting all the beach gear to Kohimarama.

What are the benefits of riding?

It keeps me fit. Given the state of Auckland’s traffic a bike is the fastest way to get around. I like the feeling of independence and it’s also quite social, while you’re waiting at the lights.

What would you say to someone who is nervous about cycling?

I remember the first day I got my bike I rode along Karangahape Road and I did have a moment of panic. However after a couple of days riding around the city I felt quite comfortable.

I suggest people start on cycle paths and quiet streets in order to build up confidence. If you are concerned about being “doored” then take the lane - i.e. claim the space. Cars can slow down behind you or use another lane. You will develop skills at looking along the street face of parked cars watching for movement.

My bike design means I sit very upright. This is good for me looking around and for drivers to see me – more like a pedestrian on wheels.

In truth you have to have your wits about you when riding in the traffic. It's much easier on the slower streets, and a dream in separated cycle lanes so let’s have more of them!

How bike-friendly is Auckland? Biking around Auckland has improved since I started in 2012. Separated bike paths along city streets make for a much more enjoyable experience. There are more and more people biking in the city, which means car drivers are getting more used to sharing the road.

What’s a favourite route/cycleway you like?

I am a very happy beneficiary of the Te Ara i Whiti / the pink path, as I live at one end and work at the other. I love the view over the city and harbour as I head home.


James Shaw: Capital gains tax key to fixing wealth gap
102456 2019-02-15 14:54:45Z Politics

James Shaw: Capital gains tax key to fixing wealth…

by RNZ

The week before a major tax report is released, Green Party co-leader James Shaw has again challenged his government partners to back the tax.

Read more
Jealousy, murder and lies: The killing of Arishma Chand
102448 2019-02-15 10:28:12Z Crime

Jealousy, murder and lies: The killing of Arishma…

by Anneke Smith

Arishma Chand was just 24 when she was murdered.

Read more
Top wine picks from Central Otago
102233 2019-02-15 00:00:00Z Wine

Top wine picks from Central Otago

by Michael Cooper

Tucked into small corners, Central Otago vineyards offer nuggets worth digging for. Wine critic Michael Coopers offers his top picks.

Read more
Ivanka and her tower of crumbs
102404 2019-02-14 10:33:12Z Arts

Ivanka and her tower of crumbs

by Preminda Jacob

For two hours each evening, an Ivanka Trump lookalike has been vacuuming a hot pink carpet at the Flashpoint Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Read more
Youth mental health is in crisis and NZ is failing to keep up
102393 2019-02-14 09:52:16Z Social issues

Youth mental health is in crisis and NZ is failing…

by The Listener

The introduction of a free youth mental-health pilot for Porirua, and later the wider region, is welcome news, but it's far too little, far too late.

Read more
Guyon Espiner: Year of delivery begins in defensive crouch
102387 2019-02-14 09:21:07Z Politics

Guyon Espiner: Year of delivery begins in defensiv…

by Guyon Espiner

For a government promising 'a year of delivery' it has begun in something of a defensive crouch.

Read more
American futurist Michio Kaku's predictions for life on Planet Earth
102217 2019-02-14 00:00:00Z World

American futurist Michio Kaku's predictions for li…

by Russell Brown

Civilisation on Mars, movies with feelings, digitised human thought & recorded memories are just some of the changes we can expect, according to Kaku.

Read more
The fatal attraction of new Netflix series Russian Doll
102349 2019-02-14 00:00:00Z Television

The fatal attraction of new Netflix series Russian…

by Diana Wichtel

Netflix dramedy Russian Doll is confounding, random and annoying, but stick with it.

Read more