Cycling in Sydney Australia
My kids and I get around on my Trek/Xtracycle and we get a lot of comments and questions and generally a really positive response from cyclists and pedestrians everywhere we go. It's the most awesome set up, took barely 20 mins of riding to get used to and only a few weeks to build up some extra muscle power!
What I don't understand is why I don't see more Xtracycles hauling kids around? I don't get it. It makes a fantastic alternative to a double stroller and I've pushed one of those around and can honestly say the bike is far easier! Especially around where we live in Newtown area where the width of a double pram was a pain in the bum. I've been Xtracycling with my children all over the inner west (plus a rail trail or two in Vic where it held up beautifully) since Nov last yr and I really honestly thought the idea might catch on a bit. I'm starting to see though that perhaps I was being naive. I just don't get why it's not a more popular set up for kid-hauling. Feeling a bit lonesome out there! Any thoughts as to why it's not taking off here in Syd/Oz?
I don't think cost enters the equation as much as people think, definitely number 1 is that we're in a city where a dismal percentage of trips are made with bicycles (i'm excluding recreational/fitness rides) so the number who would then pull shopping around, let alone another person, is a small portion of that.They need to overcome fear and most importantly, fear of being different.
No one needs to owrry if the kids will like riding on it, they almost universally do. I saw Colin's rig at our shop today complete with happy little person and another family test rode a bakfiets and the kids were just screaming with joy and want their parents to buy one. In fact, kids so universally love them that the one time someone came to ride one and couldn't because their 1 year old starting screaming when put inside the box, I was genuinely wondering what exactly was wrong with the child in a medical sense but didn't comment of course. It's one of the best things about carrying a kid around on a bike - they grow to love the bike and instead of dreaming about driving their parents cars, they must be dreaming about being big and pedalling their own cargo bike. That's a priceless thing for any parent that doesn't want their kids to grow up to be a brainless moron but I don't find saying it that way has ever helped to sell one :)
It seems unlikely the police will fine someone for riding a bike with their toddler on the footpath but there is still pedestrian rage as a deterrent. I have a great photo of the police riding their bikes up addison road on the footpath, I must try and find where I put it...
Yep, expensive I know. But not when compared to a Gazellle Cabby or something. And being more streamlined I just think it makes so much sense in this part of Sydney than many cargo bikes and trailers. Plus, I didn't like the idea of my kids being down lower than me and at car-exhaust level. I just honestly thought that I'd start to see some more around. I've barely even seen an Xtracycle in the last 12 months and never one with kids on board.
oh, cross posted w you Colin. IS it illegal? I sometimes ride on footpath - very courteously mind you! - and was under the impression that w kids under 12 in your company (whether ON your bike or on their own bike ) that it was perfectly legal to be on footpath???
Recently I overtook (after a polite ring of my bell) a couple of police officers on the footpath on King St and they moved aside and didn't raise an eyelid when I passed. I shall continue to ignore the law for now!
I can hear the kids perfectly well, we talk constantly while riding. Sometimes they drive me crazy actually, pointing out every little detail, asking a billion questions! So not seeing them is fine for me. It's very stable too, far more than when I had my regular bike w rear mounted toddler seat.
I know how dangerous it is perceived to be to get on a bike in this city but there are still plenty who do, and plenty of kids in bike trailers and purpose built cargo bikes. I guess I'm wondering why that demographic haven't taken up the xtracycle option for their kid-transporting.
thanks! I'm looking at that street corner right now. Marrickville council put up 'no cycling on footpath' signs all over Addison Road last week, entirely missing the point of the issue. The signs are hideous, pictures of bikes with big lines through it and small text below about being 12 years old. From the road, motorists will think it means you're not allowed to cycle anywhere on Addison road. I have a feeling those signs won't last long so if you want to check them out quick if you're into that kind of thing...
Maurice: I definitely recommend writing to the council and getting it on the record.