CERA is asking for ideas of how to rebuild Christchurch into an even better place that it was before the quakes. This site is an attempt to harness the ideas and knowledge of local cyclists and wanna-be-cyclists to create a persuasive vision of how Christchurch could become a world leader in urban recreation

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Recreation Should Start From Home

"For me it all started when my mother-in-law got a new bicycle and began cycling. We went out cycling on the road together, but I wanted to show her the joy of mountain biking. What she needed was really easy beginner tracks like those available across town at Bottle Lake and McLeans Island. But I didn't want to spend twice as long in the car getting there as actually cycling!

It was then I started thinking that RECREATION shouldn't be a DESTINATION. Instead it should be an INTEGRATED part of our EVERYDAY lives. I feel we shouldn't have to pack the car and then drive across town to partake in quality recreation in natural outdoor environments.

Only when we can start the recreational journey from our own homes will we have enough time to regularly enjoy recreation. Only then will society as a whole start to experience the health and happiness benefits of regular exercise"
-Clare McLennan, Hoon Hay

SOLUTION: Instead of just building cycle ways to help commuters get around town, build the cycleways in green corridors and add single track routes of similar difficulty to those built at Bottle Lake and McLeans Island, alongside as much of the cycleway network as possible.
MOTIVATION: Why single track? Cycling and in particular single track is a recreation pastime already enjoyed by many families on within Christchurch. It is a good recreation activity for the city to invest in because it appeals to people of different ages and abilities and the same facilities can be used by both beginners and more experienced people.

The combination, of a quicker 2m wide sealed path with a longer winding single track running beside it would would allow for a diverse range of users. For example

1. Parents would be able to go for a walk, at the same time as over 7s can MTB or run on the single track. Instead of children complaining that the walk is boring it now becomes an adventure. The children start dragging the adults out and everybody can travel at their own rate.

2. Young children on scooters or in push chairs on the sealed path see the older children on the single track and have something to aspire to.

3. Runners can make use of the softer and more interesting surface to run along.

4. Since the single track follows a similar route to the cycle way the safe crossing points can be used by both commuters and recreational riders. Children can have some adventure on their way to school.

Furthermore, MTB is an activity with a certain degree of managed risk and thus appeals to many children and teenagers. The opportunity to evaluate risk on one's own terms is a scientifically essential part of growing up, however in our modern cities there is fewer opportunities for children to do this in a managed way that is acceptable to parents. Grant Schodier talks about this in this recent TEDxEqChch talk which you will find a link to on the side bar on the right

What can we do to make 'Recreation start from home' for Christchurch people? How do you see this vision embodied in our city?
Please comment below (using either facebook or blogger). Your ideas will be incorporated into the document and ideas credited to you.

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