My dad was in hospital recently getting a hip replaced. The hospital is located in the Western suburbs of Sydney, inside a "business park" overlooking a manmade lake. Patients have great views of the water, and there's always people outside to gaze at.
Dad being the super outdoorsy person that he is naturally wanted to get outside as soon as he was able to. But the second (metre) you step outside the only option people have is to hop into a waiting car.
No footpath around the hospital.
No footpath to the lake.
No footpath to get outside the car park.
Front door of hospital straight to the car.
Patients can be seen hobbling with their walking sticks navigating through the car park down to the water.
Lucky the hospital is new and isn't busy. I can't imagine what patients will have to do once all the cars start hearing about the empty car park.
Come on developers, just build footpath where ever you expect people to be.
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.
I've been playing around with Mapbox this weekend and am loving it. I spent a week cycle touring through Moss Vale to Albury in New South Wales so all the trips were recorded on different files in the garmin and uploaded into strava. Some of the route deviated from the original plan. The data for 2 days was mashed up into 1 file. Argh, how to get it all nicely into one map with all the camping sites, interesting bits and pieces we found along the way?
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!
Been so busy this month kicking off a new venture: Sydney X Rides - to get a generation of Sydney siders active and social by cycling.
Dad and I spent this Xmas lunch happily cruising along Glebe cycleway, until he fell off....
I got dad a foldable bike for Christmas last year so he we could do something active on the family picnics. This year again I thought we'd go for a ride around Glebe along the cycleway. I managed to get the sisters on a test ride too. Once I was convinced the cycleway was easy for him I decided to take him on road to the look out under the ANZAC bridge.
After the lookout we hop back on the road, as we approach the red light up with big trucks I thought it'd be safer to get back onto the cycleway via this driveway. The curb doesn't look high but it's enough to feel the bump as you go over. Sometimes I forget I'm more experienced at riding in Sydney than most. So as I went over and turned back to check in on dad, I saw my fears turn into reality. Dad's tiny tyre didn't hit the curb with enough speed and he ended up getting caught, losing balance and falling over. Landing on his recently fractured hand, scraping his knees and face. Bloodied. Scratched up, hurting and in shock. He pulled together and to ride back.
Connections are so important. Road design needs to consider accessibility for all in all forms of mobility devices. Wheel chairs, prams, cargo bikes, bikes, walking frames.
There's no separated cycling infrastructure in Japan. And yet everyone cycles. Mums with bubs, kids, high schools students, grandparents with shopping, dads with kids, business attired. Everyone cycles. So how can a country without designated, separated, safe cycle lanes and with the best technologies in the world achieve this? How is it that pedestrians, car drivers, cyclists can commute in harmony.
Answer: Culture and Education
The right of way logic is ingrained into the Japanese people.
Give right of way to the most vulnerable.
All major destinations of interest have dedicated bike parking infrastructure. The little convenience store, the major shopping centres, schools, railway stations
How was your weekend? Well I had a blast riding out from Sydney city to Harris Park to enjoy the Parramasala festival (a spicy festival of cultures) and feast on some Indian goodies. The ride was long (40 kms) mostly along cycleways, from cooks river cycleway to the M4 cycleway and some roads in between.
Riding changes when you have a cargo bike. Things that you notice when riding with someone in a cargo:
How should we be designing active spaces and transportation networks?
We heard from tourism departments of New Zealand, Japan, Tasmania, Flight centre's active travel direct, councils from Australian country towns all discussing the economic benefits of Cycle Tourism to their communities and the economy.
As you can imagine Cycle Tourism comes in an assortment of flavours. I've broken them down to 4 major areas:
The needs of the Cycling tourism industry
Going to a conference where you don't know anyone is like starting at a new high school half way through the year. People already have their clicks, they all seem to know each other, they know how things work and they know the local lingo.
I found out about the Asia Pacific Cycling Congress on the Thursday before the conference started. By Saturday I had made the decision that I would apply for leave at my I.T job, and fly up for a week of learning and networking with people in the Cycling community. There was a lot of hesitation because I wasn’t confident, I didn't know anyone at the conference and the whole trip would cost me a pretty penny. But as someone on the last day of the conference made me appreciate, there's no other investment that would return you the same amount of targeted marketing for that price.
My strategy consisted of:
Through twitter I was able to engage with people at the congress and exchange ideas and conversations while attending a presentation. From there I was able to introduce myself in person and continue the conversations outside.
My elevator pitch is still not solid. I can’t figure out if I should introduce myself as Jules from Sydney making a career change. Or Jules the organiser of Sydney Night Rides a social bike riding group. I'll keep working on this one. But be prepared to brand yourself. Launch yourself as the person you want to be identified as.
How to use twitter 1:01
Before the conference
During the conference
Notes for next time
Blogging about all things that create beautiful healthy communities, active transportation and tech.