November 7, 2014

An Auckland Conversation, with Chris and Melissa Bruntlett

The Kiwis invited our own Chris and Melissa Bruntlett  for an Auckland Conversation.  They’re back. 
After a energizing ten-day tour of New Zealand, I’ve been back in Vancouver less than 24 hours, and I’m already saddened by the state of the (bike-centric) political discourse here*.
For what it’s worth, both the Wellington and Auckland Councils, as well as the national 2WalkAndCycle Conference invited Modacity to provide a keynote talk around Vancouver’s recent emergence as a cycling city, and what that means for car-lite, multi-modal families such as our own. They were genuinely interested to learn more about the delivery of six protected bike lanes over six years, and how that political boldness resulted in a significant change to our bike culture, with more women, children, seniors, businesses, pets, and cargo on bikes.


We tied it all up into a hour-long presentation, including a selection of Cycle Chic Films (Simon, Cecily, Amy and Josh), which can be viewed in its entirety here.


Auckland con

 MODACITY, Vancouver Chris and Melissa Bruntlett will present a fresh perspective on cycling, as the central voice of Vancouver’s emerging citizen cycling movement.  Their family’s mobility is facilitated by a city that has done better than most in North America to provide bicycle infrastructure for people of all ages and abilities.
Their presentation will include a selection of the Vancouver Cycle Chic films – produced by Chris – which intimately profile a number of Vancouverites who cycle for transportation; demonstrating that riding a bike is a way to be “a part of the city, not apart from the city.”


The response we received was phenomenal (the last talk attracted an audience of over 350 Aucklanders!), as cities across New Zealand now attempt to emulate Vancouver’s successes.
Anyway, hopefully a bit of perspective and inspiration as politicians continue to attempt cheap, anti-bike lane rhetoric. The benefits of bike infrastructure stretch far beyond dollars and cents.

*  I’m still amazed that local politicians (from the NPA, COPE, AND the Greens) believe they can still win votes by playing the anti-bike lane card, with no substantive proof that these projects reduced business, created congestion, or any of the other baseless talking points they appear to take from the pages of The Province.
Melissa and Chris blogged about their trip here. Highlights include “Blend with the Bruntletts” – a large group ride with over 100 smiling faces along two of Auckland’s newly-opened separated cycle tracks.

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