National cycle-friendly award goes to Island Bay bike shop
THE AWARD-WINNING team at Mamachari Bicycles, (from left) Brooke Riddell-Garner, Juan Carlos Portales and Jason Penny, with one of the restored 1920s-styled bicycles the business imports from Japan.
The Island Bay bike shop won the “cycle friendly commitment by a business” category at this year’s ASB Cycle Friendly Awards, held in Wellington.
It aims to boost cycling in New Zealand by rebuilding and selling the stylish second-hand bicycles they import from Japan.
Co-owner Jason Penny says he is continually amazed by the joyful response from people who get back on a bike after years without one. “They come back with huge smiles,” he says. “It’s really rewarding to see.”
Mamacharis – a Japanese term that means mother chariot – have become a global symbol of environmental friendliness, and there simple design lets commuters wear a suit, skirt or high-heels while riding them.
Cycling champions of the year, Paul McArdle and Meg Frater, believe that getting more people on bikes in New Zealand will help ease many of the problems facing health, education and the environment.
The pair established Bike On NZ last November after they returned from living and working in Europe, where they saw first-hand how the prevalence of biking affected better health and educational outcomes, and supported the environment.
“Children, Maori, Pacifika… so many people gain from having a bike to use,” says Paul.
The not-for-profit organisation is currently working on a number of projects, some of which they hope to roll out across the country.
One, Bikes in Schools, was piloted at St Mary’s in Hastings and was named best cycle facility project at the awards ceremony.
It provides all pupils with regular access to a bike, helmet and designated bike tracks in the school grounds, with the aim of encouraging them to become active and healthy, develop bike skills and build confidence.
Wellington’s newly-elected mayor Celia Wade-Brown, a cycling devotee, told the audience of around 80 people she wants to make it “more than easy” to cycle Wellington, in line with the council’s cycling policy.
She says a recent cycle count that indicates just 2.1% of Wellington commuters use a bike, does not reflect her own experience of commuting, where she has often encountered “cycle lane jams”, and must have taken place on a rainy day.
She also apologised for not wearing her mayoral chains – citing them as a cycling hazard.
The Cycle Friendly Awards were devised by the Cycling Advocates’ Network (CAN) and have been running since 2003.
The purpose of the awards is to acknowledge and celebrate the promotion of cycling and a cycle-friendly environment.