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Why #quaxing is trending globally with cyclists

Quaxing: shopping by various non-car means.

It began – like so many things these days – with a lively exchange on social media, and morphed into a cycling meme that is busy lapping the world.

And no, it's got nothing to do with Lycra.

Four months ago, Auckland local government councillor Dick Quax was having a debate with others on Twitter about transport options at a local shopping centre.

He made some bold statements about the practicality - or even possibility - of doing one's weekly shopping by train or bicycle.

In response, a few people started posting pictures of shopping being transported by bike, to show Cr Quax how it's done.

And in April, the term was comprehensively defined:

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Quaxing includes shopping by various non-car means, but it's not surprising that cyclists - whose transport choice is too often ignored, lampooned or even vilified - grabbed hold of the term and made it their own.

Soon, quaxing hashtags were popping up around the world, including North America, Europe and Australia.

Sure, it may seem like a frivolous blip on the world wide interwebs, but commenters and cycling advocates have been using the hashtag to showcase the versatility of cycling.

In New Zealand, riding a bike is too often seen as primarily a recreation or a fitness pursuit.

Say "cycling" and the mental image for many is of a bloke in gaudy, skin-tight clothing, bent over a racing bike and peering from under an aero helmet as he races along.

It often is that, but let's not forget the massive numbers of people who roll along in regular clothes on bog-standard bikes to work, social occasions or the nearby supermarket.

Of course, it's nothing new: bikes were being used to cart goods before cars were in widespread use or even invented.

Before you jump into the comments section to explain the impossibility of quaxing in your life, relax - there are no plans to make it compulsory (well not yet, anyway).

But as a whimsical social media movement, it helps to highlight the possibilities of a society with less reliance on motor vehicles - and a greater provision for people who get around by bike, public transport, or on foot. 

Are you quaxing - do you use your bike to shop or lug stuff around?

Sydney Morning Herald

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