Back to the beginning

Back to the beginning
November 8, 2016 Charlotte Bebbington

You lost me at “I don’t bike”

Commuter cycling for the modern woman
A blog series by Charlotte

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#1 - Back to the beginning

I first fell in love with biking within weeks of moving to Shanghai. I had never seen so many cyclists in my life and I was curious to see for myself what all the fuss was about. I bought my first bike quickly – it was a Shanghai Forever. The original bike of Shanghai – and just as its name suggests with its heavy steel framework, it’s built to last forever.

The “old tanks” as the locals nicknamed them would have bought back endless memories for my Granddad had he seen it. She looked vintage and simple yet was charming with plenty of charisma. She was brand new and her shiny metallic maroon paint job sparkled amongst crowds of dirty rusted steel and her fresh brake pads were silent against the squealing worn out ones; as for most of the locals there wasn’t a need to care about how your bike looked or rode as long as it got you from a to b.

I don’t recall many other feelings besides joy that day. Surrounded by the endless energy and action encapsulating a fascinating mega city. I rode with and through crowds of cars, people and bikes to get home in one piece. That day became more than the essence of being present in all those peoples moments as they flew past or the second long connections made with strangers. It became first of 7 years of wonderful adventures in Shanghai by bike.

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The early days – discovering the city by night


Returning to Christchurch late last year to bring back my dream ((build a bike empire!) was a difficult transition for me. I went from large gangs of bike friends to no friends that rode a bike. From brightly lit streets that were alive 24/7 to dark and empty ones and a lot of negativity around bicycles.

It has been a little over a year since I arrived back in Christchurch and through volunteering in different bike circles I have been able to create new connections and new friends. Regular year round riding has built up some leg resistance to the winds and I’m learning to ignore biased media and stuff.co.nz.


I started writing this blog post a year ago as a means to vent my frustrations, but this manner of writing never came to any conclusion and was not published. Restarting this a year later the same aims remain, this time I have learnt that to create a liveable Christchurch, being positive is most constructive.

I thoroughly miss the Shanghai way of life. It has taught me how to do life on a bike as well as given me the courage to take risks, be accepting, trust oneself and try new things. Out of which grew Action Bicycle Club, my dedication to that life and those friendships.

After 3 years of thinking, creating, building and crying, amongst others the dream is open in Christchurch. Action Bicycle Club has many facets but most importantly it is a platform to build communities and liveable cities. It’s the chic way of getting the gentlewoman and gentleman back on bikes a manner to bring vibrancy back to the central city. It’s a unique local business and your support is greatly appreciated. Come down and check us out!

Happy Cycling!


Change doesn’t happen overnight and Christchurch has come a long way. This blog series is an exploration of that change as we gain confidence, why fashion doesn’t need to compromise and our personal dedication to cycle commuting in Christchurch.

Charlotte is a Creative Wheel at Action Bicycle Club – She believes bikes are like handbags. A woman can never have too many. She enjoys bringing the good lookingness out from the cycling community of Christchurch.

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