Ayisha, 29 Eden Terrace to Point Chev Cruising to her own beat
When did you start riding a bike as a way to get around?
My first real job in Auckland was at a bar and the owner gave me my epic cruiser as a way of keeping safe when I went home at night. It was an alternative to walking and gave me the power to get home fast, in style.
Why do you choose to ride a bike as a way to get around?
I like the fresh air, exercise and passing traffic. I honestly think it’s faster and easier to ride a bike and maybe safer than my driving experiences. Also, cycling is fun. I do it for leisure and even cycle with my friends in our own bike group called Lady Gang on the weekends. I’ve met so many people through cycling – it’s a whole community of pretty excellent, fun and conscious people.
What is your occupation?
Now I work as an artist manager, conductor, musician and film runner.
Where does your route start and finish?
My route begins in Eden Terrace (my hood) and ends in Pt Chevalier.
Describe where this route takes you on the way to your destination – the things you see, points of interest and anything else that excites you.
At the beginning of my route, on the back of the Minnie St buildings, there are tons of amazing commissioned graffiti murals. I’m real into street art so I enjoy starting off in such an urban environment. From there I take the tunnel to Bright St that leads straight down to the Northwestern Cycleway, which is great because it’s almost entirely off-road and takes me through quaint neighbourhoods, the Unitec campus and even a golf course. Once I exit the cycleway, I follow Great North Rd and pass Western Springs (as long as the swans don’t chase me) the Zoo, Motat and on to Pt Chevalier beach to score all those amazing views.
Do you ever stop along the way? If so, where and why?
On Minnie Street in Eden Terrace, I grab myself a coffee and sometimes even schedule a meeting at Lot 23, then head off on my journey. Every now and then I stop by Loop Group to see what’s happening in the bike co-op as well. Once I get to Pt Chevalier, I’ll often stop for a coffee at Chev’s Garden as they serve Flight Coffee, which is a favourite of mine. Two coffees? I know, insane.
What do you love most about this route?
I love this route because I go through so many environments in such a short time and it reminds me why I’m in New Zealand. The exciting parts are where someone from the community curates something unique on the path, the street art that changes with the temperament of the city, the wildlife in our parks, the blooming bush and the beach.
Where else do you like to ride in Auckland?
I love riding on the pink Lightpath. I like that it changes colors at night, it's a unique piece of the city’s skyline. I also love cruising fast down Grafton Gully and onto the Waterfront paths towards Mission Bay. It’s a beautiful, flat and enjoyable ride – and with enough speed, I can pop some tricks on my cruiser.
For people considering biking in Auckland for the first time, what would you say to encourage them to start?
Bike culture is rising in Auckland, join us! There are so many safe paths now, you can ride just about anywhere and you'll end up seeing the city in a different light while revitalising your body in the process (just in time for summer). Often times, you’ll cruise past that rush hour traffic too. It’s a win-win.
What kind of bike do you usually ride?
I ride a single-speed cruiser. It’s difficult on the hills but I’ve been doing it for three years now, so there's no going back now!
Is there anything else you'd like to add about riding your bike in Auckland?
Riding your bike can be a lot of fun and you’ll meet a whole new culture of people. There are tons of events like the bike rave, the tweed ride, art rides, the crank sisters, bike gang, lady gang and they're all really inclusive. You don’t need to know all the technical aspects of riding to get stuck in.
Aside from biking, what other activities do you enjoy?
I love tramping, shark cage diving and just being on the water in general. I’m loving music at the moment, rocking out in an indie/punk band called Skux and conducting a Motown ensemble called The Swagettes. I’m looking forward to going to all the summer festivals that I can!