CAMWEST: Cyclists’ Action Movement West

Feature — Ride to Work

Riding to Work

Many of us are too busy to do exercise, but spend hours per week stuck in traffic on our way to work. Why not ride to work and kill two birds with one stone? This is surely one of the best ways to get to work: it's healthy, cheap, and FUN!

In this issue of 'CAMWEST News' we interview a few people who ride to work. They come from a variety of backgrounds (one is a triathlete, another has recently started riding again since school), but they all lovee it. They give us some great tips on how to get started.

These are some of their comments:

"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."Colin

"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."Matt

"I now couldn't think of another way of getting to the station. It feels good, even if it's a bit cold. I no longer get so frustrated, and it's actually faster than the car!"Esteban

"... cycling to work can be fun, healthy and good for the environment."Ian

A number of things came up:

Cycling is a great way to combine getting work with exercise. It's healthy, cheap, and fun. Local and State governments should see cycle commuting as a great opportunity to tackle peak hour traffic. Short trips to train stations are specially polluting since engines are cold, and expensive parking spaces are required.

Use secure bike lockers at train stations. These are organised by Bicycle NSW and are very helpful. If your local station doesn't have any, ring Bicycle NSW and ask for some! With the money you save on car trips you can buy a great new bike. This system should be greatly expanded, especially at major interchange stations such as Blacktown, Seven Hills, and Parramatta. These stations are near lower density areas such as the Hills area. Lockers make public transport much more accessible to these areas. More details. See our thoughts on lockers.

Riding can actually save you time. You could spend 50 minutes at the gym (including getting there), and 20 minutes driving (crawling) to work. Alternatively, you could spend 40 minutes getting to work by cycling. You're then getting a good workout while getting to work - a saving of 30 minutes per day! The NRMA's Clean Air 2000 study found that cycling can actually be faster than driving in some cases. This was true for Esteban, one of the people we interviewed.

Find a riding buddie. It may be good for your motivation to find someone to ride with. You may also feel more confident riding with someone else. Some riders form a 'cycling bus', where people ride safely in a group, taking up a lane. Send an email to us at contact (AT) camwest.pps.com.au if you'd like to advertise on our site for a riding partner.

Work out your route. Ride it during a low traffic Sunday morning to see what it's like. Use the RTA's FREE cycleway maps.

Start slow, and enjoy it - it's not a race! You will find that your morning commute becomes a time to clear your mind and relax. As you become fitter, you can start pushing yourself a bit more. If you're older or at risk of heart desease, make sure you consult your doctor.

Ensure you're bike is ready. Get it tuned-up, buy good lights and clothing. It'll be worth it if it improves your life.

Be flexible. Don't think you have to ride every day. You could start with 2 or 3 times a week. You could also ride part of the way, park your bike at a train station, and ride from there.

So go on, give it a go and start your day the fun way - on your bike!

See Interviews:

Read More

QwikTrip - How to Ride, Run, Walk to Work - SYDNEY NSW A non-profit site in Sydney sharing information supporting cycle & pedestrian commuting. ‘Locate your end of trip facilitiesä search facility.

Drive Safe, Cycle Safe - Drive Safe Cycle Safe UK Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions brochure.

Cycling to Work Guide - From the Dept of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business - Cycling to Work - Guide for Employers.

Your Thoughts

So what do you think? Do you ride to work? Would you try it if you had better facilities? Do you have any tips to share? Let us know at contact (AT) camwest.pps.com.au, and we'll publish your thoughts. Join our mailing lists.

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