CAMWEST: Cyclists’ Action Movement West

Feature — Ride to Work Interview

Colin, how did you get into cycling?

Originally because it was the best way to get to school. My parents couldn't drive me all the time, the bus took an hour, it was too far to walk, and cycling took only 10-15 mins.

What convinced you to give cycle commuting a try?

Similar story. The bus to work takes too long, driving in the traffic is a hassle (Epping road is yuck), and I wanted to get a bit fitter. I sit down in front of a computer all day at work, and it's nice to get some regular exercise.

What's your route to work?

15Kms from North Rocks to North Ryde. I go along North Rocks Road, Pennant Hills Road (for a little bit), M2 (love that M2), and I get off at Lane Cove Road. These days it takes me about 35 mins.

How are you finding it?

Good, although the cold weather is, well, cold. I started February this year (after 6 years of no cycling and not much exercise). At the start I was riding two days a week, because I wasn't fit enough to ride any more often, but now I'm riding three days a week. Except for the time to have a shower when I get to work, riding down the M2 is marginally faster than driving through peak hour traffic down Epping road.

Where do you park your bike?

At work in the company car park in a nice bike rack with built in locking chains. It's pretty safe, and well utilised by other cyclists.

How could cycling facilities be improved?

Bike lanes are the biggest thing. I wouldn't ride to work if it wasn't for the bike lanes on the M2, it's just too dangerous. The small amount of time I spend riding on Pennant Hills and Lane Cove Roads are pretty scary. There's no way I'd ride down Epping Road, unless I wanted to become a road mural. Showers are essential, unless you've only got a really small distance to travel, but luckily my workplace already has showers available. Lockers are nice but not essential, as long as you've got some safe place to hang up your towel during the day!

How did you feel about cycling before commuting and now?

Before I didn't think I would be able to make it that far. 15 Kilometres seemed like something only die-hard athletes could do. But I went for a test ride to work and back on a day off in January (when there wouldn't be much traffic) and found that it was OK. Tiring certainly, but it didn't kill me. Since then I've increased my fitness and riding to work is much faster.

Any tips for people considering cycling to work?

Definitely try out the route on a quiet day, when there's not much traffic and you can take your time, try out different paths, and just experiment. Also it's much better to start out small, especially if you're not very fit (like me!). I reckon that if you jump into riding 20Kms every day when your body just isn't ready for it, you'll do more damage than good, and (needless to say) it won't be very fun.

 

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