CAMWEST: Cyclists’ Action Movement West

Feature — Ride to Work Interview

Ian, how did you get into cycling?

I hadn't cycled since I was a kid. But at the age of 32 I had the chance for a second adolescence while a graduate student at a university overseas in late 1960s and early 1970s when 10 speed bikes became the vogue. It was a good way to get around on campus and that soon became recreational cycling in a city where there were lots of off-road cycleways around lakes and through woods. With my partner did a two week tour (bed 'n breakfast) cycling in Ireland. I was hooked.

What convinced you to give cycle commuting a try?

When I lived close enough to where I worked to make it feasible.

What's your route to work?

Local roads, with one off-road short cut.

How are you finding it?

I cannot do it every day, due to late night meetings and such. So, I ride to work when it is possible and the spirit moves me.

Where do you park your bike?

I work in a big old house on a hospital campus, so I can take my bike into the house and leave it leaning (unlocked) in the hallway.

How could cycling facilities be improved?

I appear to be the only one on the whole hospital campus who rides to work. There is a recreation building with showers and a clothing locker (which I keep stocked with slacks, shirts, underwear, socks etc). So, on arrival at work I shower and change into my 'civvies'. Getting people to ride to work — to even consider it as a possibility — will take a major shift in attitude and thinking. It may begin to happen if petrol and public transport fares become really expensive, but only for those people who live close enough to make it practical.

How did you feel about cycling before commuting and now?

I think I ride to work more out of conviction than pleasure. I like to ride for recreation: exercise, social companionship, fun.

Any tips for people considering cycling to work?

Riding to work can be a hassle unless (a) your route or use of other transport (e.g., train) is suitable, (b) you can shower and change at work, especially in the summer months, (c) you have somewhere to keep work clothes, or can carry them with you, (d) you can leave your bike safely without a lot of trouble. If all these conditions are met, cycling to work can be fun, healthy and good for the environment.

Ian is the founder of CAMWEST, and has worked hard to bring better bicycle facilities in Western Sydney. You can see our interview with Ian about his thoughts, memories, and hopes for cycling advocacy.

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