On a sunny Thursday in February, I took a spin around the city and out along Tamaki Drive with a group of senior Aucklanders on bikes, the first in a series of planned monthly rides.
The convivial group has emerged from the city branch of the YMCA’s Never2Old fitness programme, under the guidance of Clare Lynch, with some helpful e-bike training along the way.
The group has a ‘no rider left behind’ policy, and the rides are organized along safe routes at comfortable speeds, and culminate in an enjoyable lunch.
I’d only intended to meet the group on Lightpath and say hello, but found myself zooming down Grafton Gully and then biking round the waterfront, hanging at the back of the bunch and chatting with Mohan and John about everything from sea level rise to the biographies of WW2 pilots.
Everyone in the group is 60+, with Mohan the oldest member, just nudging 80. He claimed to be feeling a bit slow after a 60km ride the previous weekend on his regular, non-electric bike – but we all made it to the lunch destination with no trouble at all.
Discussion around the lunch table ranged widely: from the best e-bike; to people’s plans for biking expeditions, both around town and overseas; to what it would take to see more kids biking to school, the way they used to. And lots of chat about non-bike related topics, too. And then we biked back towards town and took a spin around the Lighthouse sculpture on Queens Wharf.
The March ride on Thursday (weather permitting) will head west to Oratia and home via Henderson, with some train travel thrown in to keep it interesting and accessible. There are sometimes a few spaces on a ride, and YMCA members have priority. If you’re keen, or would like to compare notes on good routes and destinations with a view to running similar rides, contact Clare Lynch, who can fill you in on the details.