Novel mode of active travel: Amanda Robinson taking Jennifer Smart on her e-cargo bike


A first Queenstown mini-expo on ‘active travel’ tomorrow even lets attendees try a range of electric bikes.

The event, at Frankton’s Buzzstop cafe, is being organised by a new community advocacy group, The Lightfoot Initiative.

‘‘We’re keen to start a conversation around getting people moving in more active ways,’’ says co-organiser Amanda Robinson, who owns the resort’s only e-cargo bike, which she transports her two kids on.

‘‘Suburb by suburb, people are getting information, but there isn’t a cohesive across-the-Basin flow of information.

‘‘We’re really keen to get the community more involved in talking to council about what’s needed.’’

Wednesday’s mini-expo includes talks from three guest speakers — Waiheke Island-based Darleen Tana Hoff-Nielsen, who owns e-bike business Bikes & Beyond, which has a Queenstown branch, council active travel expert Matt Roberts and Wanaka-based active travel advocate Simon Telfer.

Another co-organiser is Jennifer Smart, who only got into cycle commuting this year — ‘‘I’ve always found it too dangerous and too off-putting in the past’’.

Having done some seasons at Park City, Utah, in the United States, she says ‘‘they had a free bus network that took you around all the skifields and shopping areas, and it just meant the traffic was almost non-existent’’.

While appreciating a recent bus ride from Shotover Country to central Queenstown took only 20 minutes, she says the local service is inconsistent.

It’s taken her 50 minutes to bus from Wakatipu High to Shotover Country but by bike it’s ‘‘normally 23 to 25 minutes’’.

‘‘The bus-bike combo can be quite game-changing for people as well,’’ she says.

Robinson stresses they’re not ‘‘down with cars’’.

‘‘Active travel can mean car-pooling or ride-sharing.

‘‘All members of our little group are car owners and users, ‘cos we recognise we do still need cars for some trips.’’

Tomorrow’s mini-expo starts at 6.30pm; tickets, $5, from Eventbrite, go towards offsetting the carbon for those attending, Robinson says.

At the conclusion, attendees can try out a wide range of e-bikes provided by local and regional companies.