Life in the Bike Lane: Kiri Crossland
Life in the Bike Lane, brought to you by Bike Waikato, showcases how bikes fit into the everyday lives of people in the Waikato.
As per her Instagram bio, Kiri Crossland is “just another pākehā queer femme on the internet.” She is a regular bike rider and works as a Transport Planner for MRCagney.
Kiri has a bachelor’s degree in environmental planning and is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Through her work as a Transport Planner, Kiri is able to combine these two parts of her life together.
At university Kiri viewed transport planning through both a feminist and a queer lens. “Everyone has experiences that’re unique to themselves” she explained. Because of this, local councils need to take these experiences into account when delivering transport (and other aspects of infrastructure) through processes like community co-design. People are experts in their own needs.
Kiri says the economics and safety of transport is something that can differ from person to person. An example being, for men, the biggest risk to safety is physical injury. Whereas for women, they have these same concerns but face a greater risk of being catcalled or heckled.
Kiri also gave the example of queer people having an increased likelihood of unemployment. So, cheaper transport options like public transport or biking can be of greater importance to that community.
In 2020 MRCagney produced a report of Auckland transport that included the LGBTQIA+ community as an interest group. This is one of the reasons why Kiri chose to work with them. They’re bringing voices into the transport conversation that otherwise wouldn’t be there. “The first step is talking about it and making more people aware” Kiri said.
Kiri has been a regular rider for the past three years and owns a Magnum Metro e-bike. She feels weird being called a cyclist, saying “It is just how I get around.” Kiri bikes a 12km return trip most days, from her Glenview residence to her work’s Hamilton office. On the days Kiri works in Auckland, she bikes to the train station and takes Te Huia.
Kiri completes most of her shopping on her bike as well. It has two baskets, with the rear basket being the product of a DIY. Kiri said she once bought six sets of curtains from an op shop and took them home on her bike. “It’s a fun challenge. What will I buy and how will I take it home on my bike?”
Kiri praises her e-bike, saying “I’m not really a fitspo person, but I think an e-bike is a really good way to just get out there. If you’re having a bad day or you feel sick, it’s like no effort to cycle.”
She recommends people who are thinking of taking up cycling to go somewhere to test-ride different bikes before they buy one. Kiri said that Electrify NZ are good for being able to accommodate this.
If you’re interested in learning more about Kiri’s perspective on planning, she has recently written about it. Her article, SEX(UALITY) IN THE CITY planning for queerer public space was published in the July 2021 edition of Planning Quarterly. It is also available on MRCagney’s website here.
Words and Photos by Benjamin Wilson.
Benjamin is a Hamilton based photographer, chef, and journalism student. As well as being an avid environmentalist and cyclist. He believes firmly that cycling has a big part to play in the future of transport.