"Cycling In Peak Hour Should Be Banned. That’s The Only Info You Need.”
There are many perks to living on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, but quick, easy transport isn't one of them.
When it takes just as long to get to the city on a bus from Avalon as it does on a train from Wollongong, the pickings become very slim indeed.
Fed up with the three hours I spend commuting between Freshwater and Ultimo each day, I started investigating a way around this. A quick Google search revealed that if I want to be at work by 9am, the 20km journey would actually be quicker if I went by bike rather than public transport.
So last week I posted on Facebook, asking if anyone had any advice on riding from the Northern Beaches into the city. The first comment I received read:
"Cycling in peak hour should be banned. That’s the only info you need.”
Needless to say, this comment received a barrage of support in the form of likes, loves, and laughs from the rest of the Beaches community.
Such is the status quo that a mate of mine who actually had some real tips to share had to message me in private, just to avoid the onslaught of cyber-hate a public comment would have produced.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I get it. There are countless times that I’ve been stuck driving behind a cyclist, crawling along, trying to work out just how far into the oncoming traffic I can veer without breaking any laws or bones in the process.
But when you look at the facts, can you blame our two-wheeled relatives? If I were to start riding to work, I’d be sleeping in for longer, saving money, spending less time standing on an overcrowded bus, doing less damage to the environment, and freeing up more time in the evenings I would otherwise be spending getting my daily exercise.
“But some of us need our cars for work”, I hear the tradies cry, and rightly so. But look at it this way: if riding to work became the social norm for office workers, there would be far fewer cars on the road. All of a sudden, you’re no longer spending the best part of your morning stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
“But the last thing I want is more bikes on the main road,” you remark, and again, I hear you. Even just one cyclist on the road can be a nuisance. It’s like how a small dog somehow manages to take up the entire space of a king-sized bed, leaving you sleeping with half your body hanging over the edge.
But who knows, if enough people started riding to work, maybe someone higher up would take notice, and the Northern Beaches might start seeing some cycle routes introduced which don’t interfere with traffic, or place cyclists and buses in the same lane.
The idea of riding on the main road is scary for the inexperienced cyclist, too. Sharing the main road with an endless amount of cars going three times your speed is daunting to say the least. But for unconfident riders, there are many alternate routes you can take on quieter back roads. It might add 10 minutes or so onto your trip, but it’s worth it for your safety and peace of mind.
So, I can confirm that you won’t be catching me flaunting any too-tight lycra or wrap-around sunnies any time soon. But when you’re sweating on a crowded bus on your way to work this summer, or stuck behind the wheel in gridlock traffic, take a look towards the quieter parallel roads, and you might catch a glimpse of a better-slept version of myself, puffing my way towards a better future.