Every morning I get a coffee from a corner joint along Lee St Chippendale, next to Central Station. Lee Street is an artery road feeds onto George St, the main road through the City of Sydney.
Every morning I see bike riders negotiate space on the road with other car drivers. Every morning I have one cringe moment when I wonder if I'm going to be a witness to an accident. My word of advice is always take the lane if you fear being squished against a kerb. Just like this chick chose to do this morning.
It's Saturday and I have to travel out to a business park in Western Sydney to visit dad in hopsital. What a pain. Googlemaps is telling me it's a 30 minute bike ride from Sevenhills station. Blah. I dreading the cars and the anger and the fumes.
Little did I know that there's actually decent amounts of cycleway and shared paths in Blacktown. There was only one nasty bit on a major road that I wasn't completely comfortable with but most of the 8 km ride was really pleasant. Even managed to pick some oranges from an overhanging tree (which were in plenty out there).
8 kms of shared path and cycleways from Seven Hills station to Norwest business park.
Signage that tells me where I can pee, get coffee, go shopping and other helpful cycle things in Tasmania
I was coerced into cycling the west coast of Tasmania last Christmas. After booking my flights I found out it rains 300 days of the year and some of the most mountainous terrain in Australia. I prepped myself for the worst, thermals, spare everything, bike tools, knife (never know when you'll find fruit trees or weirdos). I nearly screamed out loud mid flight when I realised I'd left one crucial tool in the garage ... panic what do I do? Cab it to town and buy a spanner? Is there public transport in Launceston (answer: not really)? Problem was solved as I waited at the baggage carousel. Sign pointing to the bike station in the car park where 2 bike stands with full set of tools and pumps awaited me and Yoshi (my bike has a name).
I had underestimated Tasmania. The cycling infrastructure and appreciation for cycle touring was superior to my home state of NSW.
Here's what I found amazing about Tasmania:
- signs on major roads to give 1.5 metres to cyclists
- cycle routes sign posted along routes
- cycleways with signs to indicate nearest toilets, cafes, shops, doctors, distances to next suburb, street names
- cycleways used by children unsupervised
- cycleways with nice artworks
I did find it a tad annoying that the cycleway in Hobart was fenced off so you could only enter and exit at certain points.
Must implement such signage in Sydney and bring the children back out to play!
The best place to get a Vietnamese Pho in Sydney is in Cabramatta. The same Cabramatta that was deemed a no-go zone in the 1990's because of the heroin issues and the Vietnamese ganstas. But that image is not reality these days. What Cabramatta should be known for is its amazing Vietnamese food and cycleways.
Also its home of the most amazing vegan food. Since a lot of Vietnamese people are buddahists it's only natural that the biggest Vietnamese community has atleast 5 vegan friendly restaurants. So perfect, as an Asian vegetarian who loves cycling, Cabramatta is the ultimate weekend day trip. Did I mention how amazing all the cycling routes in this area is? No? Well they're some of the most extensive in Sydney.
2. Organise a group ride
So I organised a ride out to Cabramatta along the cycleways to eat amazing Vietnamese food and started blogging about the amazing adventure. Through some social media magic a twitter conversation caught the attention of the local newspaper journalist. This then subsequently led to an invitation to be photographed for a story to promote Cabramatta cycleways and Cabramatta as a food destination.
3. Organise a Vietnamese feast
The killer formula
In summary how to convert your town into a food destination:
More Info on cycleways in Cabramatta:
So what you've got some of the most amazing architecture in Australia. So what you have free trams in the city. So what you have some crazy
The Cyclist's priority section
The Bike Sharing Scheme
Protected bike lanes
I forgot how scary it can be to cycle in Sydney until I started riding with my best mate 2 weeks ago. This girl who has been terrified of bikes all her life, finally had the courage to cycle into work and asked me if I could help her. That's what it took. Someone to physically lead the way and show her how to ride, where to ride, tell her if she was doing alright, help her get confident.
So the challenge we had was to ride to work.
Distance to work: 4.2 kms
Route: There's a dedicated cycleway about 500 metres from her house, the challenge is to get there without freaking her out.
Things I learnt about helping someone to ride:
Other things that can help:
I've been organising bike rides for the past few months now and growing frustrated with the lack of mapping technology that allows me to find a bike route and GPS navigate it on a ride.
Most maps the councils provide are pdfs so not very interactive. So I find myself either trying to take photos of a map and trying to memorise it or using google maps to guide me as best as I can.
I'm looking forward to Google's Mapmaker relaunch this month - which should make adding more mapping data easier.
News and Announcement made here - https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/map-maker/news-and-announcements/fY-Cu6355pM
My first mission once it gets relaunched is to add more bike paths to help people cycle around on safer streets and with more confidence.
Check out this NYC mapper mapping bike and walking paths -
It's been a long time coming getting a walkway over that crazy road.
I'm going to go against the grain of the Sydney bike advocacy groups and applaud this Engineering gem. The path is wide and the gradient is so low it's a breeze cycling up and down. So easy my mum could probably do it without an electric boost. The beauty of the bridge is the incremental rises, there are subtle flat bits.
Check the RMS website for more details.
Blogging about all things that create beautiful healthy communities, active transportation and tech.