Urban Bicycles

Promoting urban appropriate utility bicycles and utility cycling in New Zealand

(since October 2007, most recently updated:  26th of November 2023)

e-mail : urbanbicycles@gmail.com 

facebook: Urban Bicycles

The New Zealand Ministry of Transport ( through its update of the Sustainable Transport Strategy) has (or should we say 'had') a (provisional) goal of increasing to 30% the number of New Zealanders who use 'active' modes of transport ( walking and cycling) to get around within our urban areas (albeit, by 2040). ( click here to view)

This goal has already been achieved ( and exceeded ) in countries not so dissimilar to our own, starting from conditions similar to those that currently exist in New Zealand.

See : Accessible Streets - 2020


This Urban Bicycles web-site draws attention to the appropriate technologies which make  urban utility bicycles comfortable,reliable,practical and convenient and the policies which have contributed to making urban utility cycling practicable, convenient and safe for the broad demographics making up the large percentage (35%+)of commuters in many European (and Japanese)'cycletopias' AND provides links to where utility-style bicycles and associated technologies can be obtained in New Zealand (and in the rest of the world), to resources and discussion on utility cycling issues and to initiatives by Local Governments, organisations, companies or individuals and Bicycle Rental operators that are setting precedents which others can follow.

Alan Preston in Mangawhai, Northland, New Zealand

e-mail: urbanbicycles@gmail.com

*N.B. I have no involvement in any commercial (especially bicycle-related) enterprises.


What is 'utility' cycling?

It is not 'recreation' and it is not 'sport'.

It includes, but is NOT limited to 'commuter cycling' 

Utility cycling is TRANSPORT.

The 'inconvenient truth' about utility cycling in countries where it is prevalent:

Note that wherever utility cycling is prevalent:

-it is not limited to a narrow demographic range by the unavailability of appropriate technologies, by overly restrictive laws, or by the perception that riding a bicycle is dangerous.

-the styles of bikes : Mountain Bikes and Road Racers (to which New Zealanders are limited) are rarely seen,-while in New Zealand the bicycles and associated technologies that are appropriate for urban utility cycling are virtually unobtainable.

( segregated cycling facilities in Utrecht, Netherlands )


-the wearing of helmets is neither compulsory nor widely practiced.

"Traffic" in Copenhagen (see http://www.copenhagenize.com/ )

-cyclists often enjoy actual ( as opposed to 'asserted') separation from motorised traffic and in some countries

(i.e. Japan ) prefer to and are encouraged to share pavements with pedestrians.

A typical covered shopping street in Japan.

Have a look at this video to see what 'utility' cycling is in cities like Copenhagen where 35% of the traffic is bicycles

(vs 2% in N.Z)


Sustainable Transport in New Zealand.

The missing link:

European-style urban appropriate utility bicycles.

Gazelle Luzern Excellent ( available from Burkes Cycles in Wellington,N.Z.

Utility vs recreational style bicycles

Japanese urban appropriate utility bicycles

are now (March 2010) available in Wellington @ http://mamachari.co.nz/

see the Beautiful Bikes for Wellington site on facebook

  and here's where you can import second hand utility bicycles from Japan:


Another fine example of state of the art utility cycling technology:

'Server 3.6' by Wheeler(made in Taiwan) fitted with Nuvinci

Continuously Variable Planetary internal hub gearing, twist-grip gear shifter,aluminium frame,roller brakes,

Busch-Muller (front and back) halogen lights powered by an internal hub dynamo (in the front wheel)which are automatically activated by a light sensor with a built-in capacitor to keep them going while 'standing' at the lights, mud-guards for riding in the rain , chain-guards for riding in work clothes, reflective tyre rims for riding at night

and a bell to let people know you're coming.

Also available with a step-through frame for ladies.

If you know where these are available in New Zealand, please let us know ( e-mail address below) .


Folding bicycles enable 'inter-modal' transport as they can be used in conjunction with public transport or drive>park> ride situations.

Euro Folding Bike3-speed internal hub folding bicycle from Reiker Cycles in Washdyke, Timaru ( N.Z)

( twist grip gear change,mud guards, chain guard, Lights, Carrier, Pump)

Ladies, On your bikes!

Gazelle's  range of fantastic urban appropriate bicycles (from the Netherlands) are available in New Zealand from the Urban Bicycles Company based in Mt Eden, Auckland. info@urbanbicycle.co.nz


Utility-style bicycles and their associated technologies and the practices and policies that have enabled the uptake of utility cycling in European Cycletopias will also enable New Zealanders to make the change away from our dependence on our car(bon burner)s.

Making utility cycling practical, practicable, comfortable, convenient and safe to the broadest possible demographic range will help to build the numbers needed to ensure real political support for the establishment of a cycling-friendly environment.


Have a look at this interesting essay ( with pictures ) on an alternative approach on making cycling accessible to us 'ordinary' folks.



July 2009.  The E-Rocket

A Berlin inventor has come up with an electric bike which you power by pedalling that can reach speeds of 50 mph.

Stefan Gulas has developed a system that amplifies the effort you put in by a factor of 50, meaning you can accelerate quickly and maintain high speeds with very little effort.

Steve Rosenberg ( BBC ) reports.

Film-maker Mike Rubbo (from Avoca Beach, Australia) has been making a series of short films on utility cycling related issues.

Click here to go to his 'YouTube' channel.

--Join the slow bicycle movement and Copenhagenize your town!

 Yike Bike : A recent innovation from Christchurch , New Zealand: 


If you know of any utility cycling initiatives or would like to add any comments or information to this site,please contact Alan Preston @ urbanbicycles@gmail.com

Magic Wheel

Locust folding bike by Joseph Cadek (Czech) 

Some ramblings: Rationale and Strategy

Alan Preston's submission to Environment Canterbury Draft Land Transport Strategy 20th of December 2007 )

The podcast of an interview with Alan Preston on Plains FM in Christchurch 2008

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