CAMWEST: Cyclists’ Action Movement West

Feature — Ride to Work Interview

Matt, how did you get into cycling?

It was something I always did as a kid. Riding to and from school, as well as just riding around our local streets. I got into more serious cycling when I did D of E at school. We did bicycle tours, which I really enjoyed. After a few of these tours I got a better bike, and started training with one of my friends who also did the tours. After that, I always tried to remain fit by cycling by myself (not with any group). It wasn't until I started doing triathlons that I began to start real serious training, with a coach and group.

What convinced you to give cycle commuting a try?

What's your route to work?

From Carlingford to North Ryde, mostly along the super fast M2. About 2.5km along local streets to the Pennant Hills Rd entry, then 8.5km along the M2 to the Lane Cove Rd exit, and then 1km to work. Total distance 12km.

How are you finding it?

Err, good. Sometimes I ride "the long way home" to do some training. I am confident riding even at night, as I have good lights, and most of the way is on the M2 with a bike path/brake down lane. The other sections are also safe, as they are either: quite slow due to traffic lights (so I can ride with the traffic and not be an obstacle); on the footpath; on wide roads; or on roads with not much traffic (particularily when I time the traffic lights correctly). The only time I get annoyed is when cars park in the bike lane, forcing me to ride into the motorway (and when it rains in the arvo, and I didn't bring a jacket because there was good weather in the morning).

Where do you park your bike?

At work on the best type of bike rack I have seen. It even has Kryptonite cables attached to the bike rack, so everyone can secure both wheels without removing them. This was not the case when I first arrived. Some eager beaver at work surveyed all the cyclists at work, and put it to management that we should get a proper bike rack, as everyone was using rails scattered around the car park. Management agreed, and we comandeered one parking spot, which is now used by up to 10 cyclists (and it has been full most days recently).

How could cycling facilities be improved?

I was lucky enough to get a locker at work, but that is not the case for most others. The showers there are also good, likewise the secluded bike rack, and the M2. Bike lanes that continue for more then 100m (as per Lane Cove Rd) would also be appreciated, but that is more of a general wish list.

How did you feel about cycling before commuting and now?

I was mostly worried about safety on the road, particularily at night, but a good bike path and a good light, as well as familiarity with the route alieves those problems. Also, sometimes when I don't exercise as much as I should, I know I will always have done some cycling that week.

Any tips for people considering cycling to work?

Definitely test out your route before you try it out for real. Start in summer, when there is pleny of visibility. If you do ride in the dark, make sure you get a rechargeable front light, and one (or more) rear flashing lights. Battery powered front lights are pathetic. Ask work to provide better facilities for you. Take a spare inner tube and pump, so you can fix any punctures you may get.

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