Cycling in Sydney Australia
I wanted to raise an incident that happened at the weekend, just in case it applies to anyone that happens to read this site and makes them think again about their behavior.
My fiance and I are avid cyclists and commute daily and we are always trying to encourage friends to take it up, offering to ride with them on quite routes etc. One particular friend has been really keen because of the health benefits but has just been extremely nervous because of the roads.
After a bit of gentle persuading she added "riding a bike" to her new years resolutions so, this weekend, we managed to convince her to attend the excellent East Side Ride in Centennial Park so that she could try cycling in a safe environment and get some confidence. There was a stand where you could borrow a bike and helmet, so we sorted that out and off we went. So far, so good.
Now for the downside. My other half was cycling alongside her and I was cycling behind. We were cycling slowly but perfectly straight within the cycle way. Not long after we had set off we had a 'peleton' of about 20-25 lycra clad cyclists come powering past us and went past extremely closely and then cut straight in front of us as they roared past.
Having finished explaining that normally you are given a lot more room, cyclists aren't generally that aggressive etc, would you believe that a smaller a group, of about 4 or 5 cyclists in their full replica team gear came past and yelled "how far apart do you want to cycle?" before one shot through the gap between my girlfriend and our friend.
I should emphasise at this point that, yes, there was a gap (big enough for a cyclist to go through, but only just) but we were in the cycle lane, clearly going slowly/carefully and were leaving a gap so that our friend, who was on the inside, had plenty of space. For those not familiar with Centennial Park, you can just go out in to the normal road way to go past, which I do when overtaking slower cyclists all the time. Needless to say, these two incidents have put our friend off completely. Worse, she will no doubt repeat these incidents to anyone that raises cycling with her in the future.
Obviously got no issues with people using the park for training but there needs to be an acceptance that it is a place for people of all abilities. If you really want to train at speed and without learner cyclists then I would suggest that you should be out on the road and not in the park at all.
I might try asserting my cyclist rights today a bit more and leaving the bike lane now and then today. I think I got to practice doing a bigger head check rather than doing a quick glance over the shoulder like I did in the past. Also use clear hand signals to move into the non bike lane I think.
First rule is watch where you are and hang on.
Second is bother about hand signals. Don't take your hands off the bars unless it absolutely feels safe.
For sure, its taking me a fair a amount of time to get the 1 handed business on the road bike. Even to drink water!
Crossed to main lanes to overtake everytime today after doing a big head check, practically standing and looking 180 around. So no shouting necessary:).
When safe to drink, move one hand to centre-top of bar, so holding bar right next to the stem, then reach for water bottle with other hand. Repeat when replacing bottle. Reduces wobbling markedly.
Damn sounds sensible enough, of course this would help. Cool tip, thanks Neil:)
Learn to do remove and replace your bottle by feel, i.e. without needing to look down. Much safer to keep your eyes on the road & rider ahead.
Lesson two - how to discard empty bidons like a pro without bringing down the rest of the peloton.
"rather than doing a quick glance over the shoulder"
I won't ride without a rear view mirror. Still look, but you can ride watching your front and rear without getting the wobbles or too much effort. I've refined the arm shown in this link so that it is secured to the bars by 2 cable ties and only has about 20-30mm aluminium across the top rather than wrapping around them. Works quite well! Pictures if needed.
This is interesting. Isnt there ones that fit on to your sunglasses etc as well or do they fall off?;)
To be honest for the long out of sydney rides I have been doing I think I am ok now, I felt a lot more confidant today.
Cycling around town though is not really my scene, seems far too dangerous with all these dodgy drivers and no bike lanes:( . Also the damn lights & roundabouts mean you have to stop all the time!:P.
If I convert my mtb to be a commuter/city bike these mirrors might come in handy though! But no chance of that happening soon, I am broke from buying mismatched replica gear of teams I dont know and the bike:P
Only $19.95 but out of stock :-(
Surely there's only one thing worse than full replica kit - mix & match replica kit (AG2R knicks, CSC socks, Astana jersey, Movistar gloves, Katusha cap, Sky arm warmers, Radio Shack vest - at least now I'm starting to understand why there are 19 World Tour pro teams...)?
And this is closely followed by FRK + FR team bike but with n-4 (i.e. four models below what the pro team actually ride) level wheels and n-2 groupset?
I jest. Honestly, didn't we (sports cyclists) all start there at some point, and look where we are now?
I like the very mixed team look but can never find the right tops to bottoms to warmers combo which is just wrong enough for my taste. Have been thinking of the design your own on http://www.cheap-cycling.com and note you could then spec out a full white bib and jersey option.
While cheap cycling dot com is a very fine name for mock team kits I do so like that this DIY lycra design link brings you into flame cycling dot com