Friday, December 4, 2009


Alexander is eleven years old.

He flew unaccompanied from Copenhagen to Auckland.

He has seen the pyramids of Egypt, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the mountains of Serbia and the cities of Israel.

He has tramped Lake Waikaremoana, dug in the sand at Hot Water Beach, caught maomao and swum with dolphins.

He described a baby blackbird being fed by the father until it was strong enough to fly away.

He taught us some Danish words and showed us how to suck sweet nectar from a flower in our garden.

He made sandwiches for his lunch and squeezed grapefruit for juice.

Alexander gives me hope for the world.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lose the lycra!

Is it shallow to care about how you look riding a bike? Not according to the CEO of Cycling England who told a recent cycling conference that "noteveryone wants to look like a rainforest toad on a bike". If we want to attract young women to cycling, he said, we should consider the barriers to their doing so. Hence the appeal of Frocks on Bikes whose members aim to "put the beauty back into biking" and have some fun in the process.

We should encourage people to take the short trips by bike or on foot. When we leave the car at home and bike to the dairy we get fresh air and exercise along with supplies. There is one less car on the road and we're saving money. These days a basic bike costs not much more than a tank of gas. And when we do drive we are more likely to share the road courteously with cyclists.
A recent survey showed that 42% of New Zealand households have a bike. Many are probably gathering dust in the garden shed. We could clean off the cobwebs, hop on and help save the planet. It could catch on!