As a way of getting around the bike is hard to beat. It's non-polluting, saves you money and is often the quickest form of transport for journeys less than 5km.

Young lady biking

Other benefits to biking

  • Feel physically and mentally refreshed.
  • Breeze through traffic
  • Avoid parking hassles
  • Lower those stress levels.
  • Downsize your carbon footprint.

Your bike and gear

Female cyclist on Papanui Parallel cycleway

You don’t need an expensive state-of-the-art bike, but your bike will need to be safe, comfortable and the right size for you.

Carefully consider how you want to use your bike. Is it primarily for commuting or will you want to use it for mountain biking or road biking?

The Ministry of Health(external link) has great information on how to choose and care for your bike.

If you have a bike you haven’t used for a while, consider taking it to a bike shop to check that it is safe and roadworthy.  

You’ll also want to consider some other gear, from the essentials down to some practical optional items:

  • Helmet
  • White front and red rear lights, visible from 200 metres away
  • Rainproof jacket
  • Hi-vis or brightly coloured clothing
  • Puncture repair kit and compact pump
  • A basket or panniers
  • Mudguards for biking in any weather

Learning to ride and planning your route

Image of online Christchurch cycle mapFor people who are new to riding a bike, or who haven't biked in years, it's a good idea to learn the basic cycling skills(external link) needed for riding safely in the community. You can practice in your driveway or a local park with no cars around.

If you’re not experienced at riding in traffic, take some time to practice your skills and build your confidence on quieter roads or one of Christchurch's cycleways.

The best way to bike is usually quite different to the route you’d drive. Plan your route to make use of nearby cycleways, shortcuts through parks, and neighbourhood streets with less traffic and lower speeds. 

If you’re unsure about your best route, test-ride it when you have plenty of time. If possible, find an experienced cycling friend or colleague to ride with.

To plan your route, check out our Christchurch cycle map, or you can use the directions function on Google Maps(external link) - just click on the bike icon. 

 

Other helpful resources and local bike groups

Go Cycle Christchurch voluntary organisation logo(external link)

Take some time to familiarise yourself with the Code for Cyclists(external link). The NZTA website(external link) (external link)(external link)has comprehensive information on all things cycling.

Our friends in Wellington have put together these light-hearted “Friendly Cyclist” videos(external link) with great tips for comfortable and confident riding in the city.

  • The Suburban Guide to Cycling in Christchurch(external link) has lots of suggestions of parks and quiet streets to start cycling in Christchurch. The Cycling Christchurch website(external link) encourages and supports cycling in our city, with lots of news, information and events.
  • Go Cycle Christchurch(external link) is a voluntary organisation which organises fun, friendly cycle skills sessions for adults in car-free environments. They also lead slow group rides for adults, specifically aimed at helping build confidence and knowledge of how to use cycle infrastructure around the city. It's a great way to connect with others who ride and get some tips to build your experience and confidence.
  • Frocks on Bikes(external link) is a social group encouraging biking freedom, convenience, and fun – in your own style. Frocks not required, men welcome! They organise leisurely group rides, often around great themes like Street Art Rides and rides to Christchurch's wonderful weekend markets. 

Taking your bike on the bus

Man loading bike at the bus interchangeAll buses in Christchurch have bike racks, and they’re free and easy to use.

The racks give lots of options, like accessing recreational rides that are further away, taking your bike through the Lyttelton tunnel, and getting home if it starts raining hard.

If you’ve never used the bus bike racks, have a practice on the test rack at the Bus Interchange. Metro have a handy ‘how-to’ video(external link) that shows you how easy it is, or check the Metro website(external link) for more details and frequently asked questions.

Dealing with punctures

If you ride regularly, at some point you will get a puncture. The most important thing is to have a plan for what you will do when that happens. You might be able to hop on a bus to complete your journey, or you might choose to learn how to fix a puncture so you can carry on riding.

Spare inner tubes are small, light, easy to carry and relatively quick to change. Puncture repair kits are also easy to carry, but fixing a puncture can be trickier than changing the tube. Some people carry a spare tube while they’re riding and keep a puncture repair kit at home so that they can fix tubes in warmth and comfort.