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I’ve never owned a car – Hazel

“I’ve never owned a car. I’ve never seen the need. My principles haven’t changed since I was at school. I was always into environmental stuff, even as a kid. I was brought up on a farm and I gave my brothers what for when they learned to drive and forgot to use their legs.

I didn’t pass my driver’s test until I was 29, and I only did this for work purposes. NZ has a real car culture, and motorists aren’t very considerate towards cyclists. If you read a lot of letters in the Press and free papers there is a lot of anti-cyclist stuff. It’s still very much a minority interest and an area for ridicule. The term “On your bike” isn’t said positively!

Cycling keeps you fit, and gives you built-in exercise getting from A to B. People who are regular cyclists generally have the health of someone about 10 years their junior. You connect much better with places, more than if you are isolated in your tin box.

Cycling is fun as well; and I’m carrying on a good tradition – the bicycle and pneumatic tyres were invented by Scots!
I describe myself as a Skiwi – a Scottish kiwi who likes skiing. I moved to Dunedin in 2002; I’ve been here (Christchurch) since 2013.

One thing I do miss – in the UK I could easily chuck my bike on the train or the ferry and head off somewhere, whereas it’s much more difficult to do that with long-distance buses. The passenger trains here are minimal and really expensive.

Give cycling a go – it’s not as painful as you might think and nowadays people can get that little bit of assistance with ebikes – I call them “cheat bikes”, but that’s another story!”

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