After nearly one year of planning, the trip that initially inspired us to combine our separate efforts and create Modacity is about to happen. If you've been following us on social media, it will come as no surprise that Chris and I are about to embark on a whirlwind trip of New Zealand that will take us to Wellington, Nelson and Auckland. Our adventure will include speaking engagements in all three cities, as well as connecting with many different people in New Zealand all working towards the same goal - advancing the conversation towards a positive and successful urban bicycle culture.
Last November, Darren Davis of Auckland Transport reached out over Twitter after following Chris for sometime. Darren was involved in the successful Auckland Conversations programme, which has hosted the likes of Janette Sadik-Khan and local boys, Brent Toderian and Gordon Price, and they were looking to broaden the discussion beyond infrastructure and policy and bring in examples of how all these great upgrades actually impact the end-user, namely families like our own. Inspired by Chris' writing and filmmaking, and my stories on the Velo Family Diaries blog, the 'Conversations' teams in both Auckland and Wellington felt our lifestyle could really connect with their citizens on a more personal level. And so we sent in our proposal, and just a few months later, it was confirmed - the Bruntletts were going to New Zealand!
Of course, one cannot make the fourteen-hour journey over the Pacific and not connect with other cities along the way. So through strategic planning and requests from Wellington and Nelson, we have been able to organize a similar Wellington Conversations engagement as well as being able to attend the 2WALKandCYCLE Conference and participate in the discussions already taking place throughout the entire country. We're honoured to be welcomed into these conversations to share our unique take on how Vancouver has facilitated our car-lite lifestyle, and what places like Wellington and Auckland can learn from what our city has been doing for the last six years to improve its own bicycle culture.
It's not all business, and we will get the opportunity to meet with local groups like Frocks on Bikes, a women's bicycle advocacy group doing some amazing work to promote every day cycling to ladies across New Zealand, as well as Generation Zero, an advocacy group focused on slowing climate change through cutting carbon emissions and promoting smarter transportation choices. Of course we've also been connecting with locals, and are excited to be joining many from Auckland for an group ride and social event titled "Blend with the Bruntletts" (catchy title).
We are beyond excited about our upcoming trip, and can hardly believe that after months of planning, this adventure will be a reality in just four more days. Be sure to follow our adventures on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and if you happen to be in Wellington or Auckland, we hope you can make it to the events and see how our home has been doing some great work, and how every change can be achievable in New Zealand.