Cycling in Sydney Australia
Barry O'Farrell can't conceive of business men and women riding bikes to work, to the law courts (as lawyers do in Dublin) or anywhere for that matter. Our professionals are too busy making money to buy cars, the Daily Tele explains in a recent editorial,(wed.) to use bikes as transport which they gave up on leaving school
Problem is that our professionals don't look like professionals except perhaps cycling professionals. How do we get more people in normal business clothes using bikes? On a recent early morning tour, I saw not one.
Can it be so hard when all over the world, people do it, and cover distances as vast as ours, and have hot weather to contend with.
This matters because it can change the vibe favorably for everyone and then we'd have a situation more like London.
There's talk of a demo ride in suits etc. on Aprils fools day and or the day after Anyone interested?
This must be the event that you are referring too,
I will most likely suit up and ride to work with a slogan on my back " I <3 Barry O'Farrell"
Although utility cycling is slowly making a comeback in this country, in the CBD it seems to be largely limited to a to/from work journey. You don't see a significant number of people using bikes to move around the CBD during the day (other than couriers).
This is why the cycleways are quite busy in the AM and PM rush hours, but often empty during the middle of the day when the media gets their footage.
Reasons for this? I'd say partly the 4 H's. Heat, Humidity, Helmets and Hills.
All work against the idea of using a bike to get around the city during the day, after your morning ride in, shower and changing into your work clothes.
Your comparison city, Dublin, is quite flat, and rarely gets over the mid 20's, so you can ride in work clothes quite comfortably, even in the middle of the day in summer. If it's raining you can wear a coat over a suit and still be reasonably comfortable.
Other cities where you do see city workers getting around on their bikes during the day are unaffected or less affected by the 4 H's.
Eg: Tokyo, Amsterdam and NYC are flat. Most of the Nordic capitals are flat with a cool climate to boot. None make you wear a helmet.
I disagree Herzog.
You don't see many cyclists out of peak times because we haven't completed the network.
I think you are both right.
I've had a few non-cyclists at work telling me what an idiot BoF is for wanting to rip up the cycle lanes. They are not cyclists, but like the idea of getting on a bike, riding with the kids, riding to work every now and then. They just don't want to deal with the motor vehicles.
Saying that, the 4Hs make a big difference. I need a shower when I get to work and I do not tend to ride to the shops when I get here for those reasons.
Yep - most people walk around the CBD between the peaks.
...and if they exert the same effort as they do walking while riding they'll actually be *less* hot & sweaty. For the same effort you go faster (I'm talking average speeds of 15-20km/h, that's all) and the extra breeze actually makes you cooler.
Of course if people insist on cycling from A to B as fast as they possibly can then yes, they will get very sweaty indeed. The 'get there as fast as possible' attitude needs some changing...
Dressed up on my 3-speed 25kg omafiets, the difference for me sweating vs not sweating for my 5km ride to the city (in Brisbane - and I have more hills than CBD Sydney) is 10km/h. If I insist on pushing hard (>25km/h) I'll get hot & sweaty. If I cruise along at 15km/h I'm as cool as a cucumber, even with our heat, humidity and hills (I don't worry about the other 'h'). ;)
But peak hours is when the congestion happens and this is when the bike lanes pay for themselves by letting riders bypass all the cars, trains & buses
I don't know if that's totally right. For utility cycling say at lunch time in the CBD its more about the network not being finished. Where the 4 H's comes in is really just the commuting. Lots of cyclists - often going very fast - even like a race.
Outside of commuting you actually go slower and you don't tend to sweat as much. But the main problem is the network not being complete. Riding on the cycleways there is no rush - there is no need to sweat. But having to merge with the traffic on King St - and riding up the hill to College St - there is a fear that I have to not hold up the cars and trucks - so I go as fast as possible. This induces sweat. If I was to have a cycleway - there would be less sweat.
There is also the problem of course of ease of getting your bike from the bike cage in the business building - going out - finding parking at the place you are going - then going back to the bike cage. These are all things that if we had a share bike racks around Sydney would clear up. Or we could have bike racks all around town for personal use.
Amsterdam and Copenhagen are also bloody rainy and cold 75% of the year. Doesn't affect the numbers cycling. Most people have some cheap waterproof overalls or cycle with an umbrella. Citing weather is a cop-out. Helmet is an obstacle.
Both have less rain than Sydney, and the rain they get is normally light drizzle. In fact Copenhagen gets less than half of what we get (600mm annually versus over 1200).
The difference is that since it's far cooler, you can wear a coat over normal clothes on the bike when it's drizzling.
Do that in sydney between November and March and you become a stewed prune.
Cold is good for cycling. I was in Zurich last month during the European cold snap. There were plenty of cyclists riding to work in minus 14C. In their work clothes + a parka.
"Cold is good for cycling" in regular clothing. I'd draw the line there though.
My first Canberra winter as a cyclist saw some challenges for me, but I'm proud to say that the cold never once stopped me. My record week was -3, -5, -5, -8, -5. On the days when I just commuted (ie. not training, rode straight to work on the trucker) I would wear thermal tights and tops, plus my ski jacket and whatever accessories would keep the wind off my extremities. I'd get to work warm and dry - not a bead of sweat anywhere. If I were training (ie. out on the road bike, looking for speed and freedom of movement) I'd be in thick, thick, thick lycra cycling gear, with all the accessories. It was totally possible to ride all winter in those conditions - in terms of clothes.
What the cold also brings is black ice, bitter wind, snot-cicles, fog, and body resistance to function properly (ie. stiff, sensitive joints and muscles that won't fire because they're just cold). It might be fine for Europeans to potter about between buildings in their CBDs on their covered chain, hub geared, step throughs, over their 2km commutes, through those conditions, but I reckon if Sydney were suddenly that cold, it wouldn't be so simple as just "hurrah I'm not sweaty, now everyone can ride without that excuse"