To Wellington Airport by Onzo anyone?

“If I could circumnavigate Taiwan by bike, it would be a bit naff not to have a go at commuting by bike to the airport from the Wellington city centre.” Guest poster Kathleen Wright puts this logic to the test…

I didn’t fancy leaving my own bike at the airport for the three days I was in New Plymouth so the obvious answer was to grab an Onzo – one of those cheap looking share bikes that you see in random places around Wellington.

You get access to an Onzo bike through downloading an app. That bit was easy. I then had to make a deposit with my credit card before I could take the bike. $10. OK all good.

It’s now time to leave for the airport. I give myself plenty of time just in case I needed to take other transport. 
Off I go. I open the app that locates the bikes. Great!

I see one around the corner. I get there and it’s gone. Hmm can I reserve a bike? No.

Right, off to the next one. I get there and its gone.

Arrgh this is getting annoying – like playing some kind of weird bike hide n’ seek.

I get more strategic. I decide to go for a bike that is out of the way. I head up Majoribanks Street in Mt Vic.

Yes! Success.

I grab the bike (my grab looks a bit aggressive but I’m a bit hot and sweaty and grumpy by this point) and shove my backpack on it. The basket was a tad small. Hmmm.

I open the app again and get out the reader which scans a barcode on the bike to open the lock on the back wheel. It wants more money. What! Grrr. I deposit more money and voila! the lock snaps open. I shove on my cool (not) bike helmet feeling awesome and heading off towards the Mt Vic tunnel.

Bump bump. Oh no flat tire? Nope.

I have no idea what the bump bump was that came from my back wheel. It was blimmin’ annoying (and somewhat embarrassing) but by this stage I really just had to get going. 

Bump bump through the tunnel

bump bump through Hataitai

and more bump bump down Evans Bay.

A bit scary navigating around the big round-about by the airport but I was feeling pretty good that I was almost there.


I got to Burger King right by the airport and started to feel a bit uncomfortable – it’s time to leave my Onzo, but do I really just leave this thing here? On the street?

It felt like dumping an old fridge or a couch!  I told myself it’s just as legitimate as leaving a car parked on the street, but better. Others can use the Onzo I’ve just left, plus it’s little: even if there were loads of people doing what I’m doing, it won’t anger Miramar residents.

Nonetheless I decided to hide it a little so it didn’t cause offence. I then manually locked it and sauntered off to the domestic terminal.

Mission accomplished.

So would I do this city-to-airport Onzo thing again?

Since writing this the Onzo bikes have been upgraded. So I reckon the bump bump might have been sorted. The baskets in the front look bigger too.

The decider for me though would be if they are more easily accessible and “bagsable”. One game of bike hide ‘n’ seek was enough for me! 

Have you used an Onzo recently? Or are you thinking about it?

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And from further afield…

Kathleen Wright is worth a follow – check her out

9 comments on “To Wellington Airport by Onzo anyone?”

  • Paul Bruce says:

    Great story – you have persuaded me to give an Onzo a try on a one way trip. Just tell me, how long did the trip take?

  • luke says:

    Id probably go around evans bay, coutts st subway and utilize what little cycle infrastructure we have to miss most of the traffic but intend to try this sometime. Ive walked to the airport a few times.

    • Hi Luke, thanks for your comment. The Coutts Street subway sounds like a good idea and yes I agree it is good to utilize the infrastructure we have. Ka pai for walking!

      • paul bruce says:

        In the early 70s, aviation weather forecasts were written at Wellington airport for the whole country.
        I would get a taxi on the early shift starting at 3am and then walk home all the way through the Coutts st subway, through the mt vic tunnel and town up to our flat in Kelburn Tce – it took me 50 minutes. On day and evening shifts, I would cycle to and fro on a one speed bike, which usually meant walking up the Terrace. All operations were centralised to the Kelburn office in the late 70s, which was 5 minute walk away.

  • Sarah Free says:

    Hi Kathleen, so nice to meet you at Bike to Work Day, and thanks for sending me the link to your blog. Awesome that you tried out an Onzo and great to have your feedback.
    Nga mihi, Cr Sarah Free

    • Thanks for your comment Sarah. To make cycling to and from the airport a real option ( not just novelty value when you have time to play with) I’d like to see a bike dock and app bookable bikes to ensure availability for commuters. Hopping off a plane and onto a bike into the CBD is completely do-able considering the wonderful compact nature of our city.

  • Neil Dixon says:

    I have not used an Onzo in Wellington, but I just got back from Sydney where I used a Lime e-bike. they were AMAZING! I hope we can get some of those in Wellington soon.

    • kathleen wright says:

      Wow that does sound cool. E-bikes are such a great way of reducing barriers to entry to cycling thrown up by wind, hills and distance.

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