A not-quite-so-lonely New Year's Day ride

Here's another lament on low cyclist numbers on low-motor-traffic days written due to overwhelming popular demand. (Well, actually only from Mr O'Rwelly who I suspect just wanted to post another link to 10 hours of sad violin music or, perhaps, some Elvis song. But at least four of you "liked" my Christmas Day blog so that’s good enough for me.)

Today’s was an 85km Three Gorges circuit between 0620 and 0950 on which I spied just 88 other riders. (That’s barely over 1 c/km, by the official measure of road-clogging-due-to-cyclists, which I invented last week as a Christmas present to myself. At least I get one that way. Sob!) A better result than last Wednesday but still pretty pitiful.

Are cyclists just not getting it? If you don’t ride at these times, you are wasting the best conditions you will ever have. Priorities, peoples! Staying up late for fireworks: same-old same-old. Getting up early-ish and riding on near-zero-car roads: priceless. It's no contest.

Today, between home (Artarmon) and Turramurra I had seen almost as many brush turkeys (1) crossing the road as other cyclists (2). Admittedly I was using my guaranteed-low-traffic Patented Back-Street Route™ at which sO’me have scoffed but on which I met and was able to converse with another rider heading to where-he-didn’t-quite-know-yet. As I approached the KCNP entry gate, rider numbers began to rise, as can be expected at this cycling hotspot, but still I had only seen 14 cyclists by the time I'd descended to the water. One was wearing a yellow Audax shirt (which may have celebrated a PBP-outing, I wasn’t sure), but was otherwise as unrecognisable to me as was the Christmas Day randonneur.

A bunch with Bike Barn roadshirts swelled numbers as they disembarked from the ferry at Berowra Waters, taking my count into the forties. A large number of pedestrians, who seemed to be participating in some sort of utterly insane long-distance running event, jogged onto the ferry’s pedestrian area, filling it to capacity, so I rolled onto the main deck behind the only two cars wishing to cross. The ferry cast off and, accelerating rapidly to its maximum cruising speed of 4.6km/h as measured by my Garmin, conveyed us all safely across the 150m watery gap.

As I climbed the other side of the Berowra Waters gorge, the odd cyclist descended, usually either pursued by a car towing a boat or pursuing one. Still b*gger-all car traffic to worry about; indeed no car overtook me for the next 6km. At Galston shops where I stopped to water-up (there’s a convenient tap in the garden outside the Bendigo Bank and a "soft" wooden seat to rest in, if desired) there were two riders lazing about, doin’ nuthin’. Resisting any urge to join them, I headed into my third gorge. Cyclists appeared in ones and twos coming the other way but I still had not seen any peloton other than the eight or so riders at the ferry.

It was only on Pacific Hwy that numbers really began to take off. Though car traffic was beginning to pick up by 0930, particularly in the north-bound direction, I saw numerous groups of riders, totalling perhaps 30, heading that way between Turramurra and when I turned off at Chatswood.

Shortly after arriving home, my wife returned from her own shorter ride through LCNP, Browns Waterhole, Bobbin Head and back via Asquith and Pacific Hwy, commenting that she had seen “thousands of cyclists”. When I challenged this assertion, she revised the number down slightly, saying, “Maybe it was about 80…”

So there you have it. Two exhaustive, scientifically conducted surveys indicating considerable under-cycling on a valuable, rare resource: empty road space. You know what you must do…


Views: 409

Comment by PeterT on January 1, 2014 at 12:14pm

Insane long-distance running event? Another year , another 365 marathons? 


Comment by Bill Parker on January 1, 2014 at 1:08pm
I would be exceedingly happy to achieve a 25kph average on a route like that, in fact quite happy to average 20 or 15, I am blaming the bike but am willing to entertain I might have a role in this as well. At least I will have an item to add to my 2014 NY goals (again) although did manage most of the 2013 ones. You should visit the enlightened side of the harbour, there are always heaps of bike rides all the time, mostly just pottering around.
Comment by Ma Dame Vélo on January 1, 2014 at 2:41pm

Well there were 33 cycists on the Bike North ride I rode on this morning - they just weren't riding where you were. :-)

Comment by Bob Moore on January 1, 2014 at 5:48pm
Well done. To my shame have sat around all day, but I did stay up late to about 11 last night, prancing about with Mick.
Comment by Robflyte on January 1, 2014 at 6:09pm

I achieved my first goal for the year, cycling less is easy.

Comment by Neil Alexander on January 5, 2014 at 5:24pm

Well, today, there did seem to be literally thousands of riders out on the roads. But there was also a lot of slacking off in cafes very early in the morning... It's hard to imagine that all those riders thronging the North Turra cafe had already had time to do enough riding to justify such caloric intake.

And was that your B20 group coming the other way near Macq U, MB?

Comment by Ma Dame Vélo on January 6, 2014 at 6:16am

Today I rode to Pie in the Sky from Hornsby - my third ride for this year and following my commitment to ride every second day.  There was a BN ride to Cronulla from Epping this morning but I didn't join.  I rode with my long term riding companion, Gayle.

Comment by Neil Alexander on January 6, 2014 at 6:37am

Ooh, well done, MB. That O'Rwellyan editing of yesterday's comment would be worthy of the O'Riginator of such activity.

Comment by Bob Moore on January 6, 2014 at 7:08am
The Bay Bug Liberation Front breakaway group had taken over all the cafés in Concord so we had to head back to Bar Italia for ANOTHER coffee. One customer there was heard to mumble something about it turning into Bar Colluzi.
Comment by Neil Alexander on January 6, 2014 at 8:20am



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