Support for the Greenway

This is a letter to the NSW Premier and Transport Ministor in support of the Cooks River GreenWay. It’s a cycling, walking and green corridor proposed to run along with light rail line from Dulwich Hill to Leichhardt. It would open up more cycling options for this area and provide an important link for cycling commuting between Tempe and Leichhardt and beyond to get more people on bikes and off these congested roads. BUT the state government in all its wisdom has deferred it “indefinitely” because it cites cost and logistics. Yet there’s always money for more roads and more car parking.

To find out more about the GreenWay and how to help campaign go to the Friends of the GreenWay site. It also has an email to send your support.

Dear Premier and Minister, It is appalling that the NSW Government has cut funding of the GreenWay shared pathway and bushland regeneration project in the state budget.

I want to express my strong opposition to this reduction in the NSW Government’s commitment to active transport. The GreenWay is an essential, much wanted and anticipated community asset and is a foremost project in the strategic planning being done in NSW.

The GreenWay will have many advantages including: – Maximising the patronage of the light rail, linking it with regional cycling and walking routes – Providing a regional active transport corridor for the growing (and ageing) local population – Protecting bandicoots an endangered species living in the corridor, and establishing a bush corridor though a highly urbanised part of Sydney – Getting people out of their cars and into sustainable transport, making Sydney a more sustainable city – Providing an opportunity for children to walk or cycle safely to school, with 23 schools within the GreenWay catchment area.

The GreenWay is a once in a generation opportunity that we cannot afford to lose, supported throughout the community. Building the light rail extension alone means the GreenWay may never be built, and will be far more costly than building the original, integrated vision. I urge you to review your decision and reinstate the GreenWay and ensure all the work, both paid and volunteer, that has gone into the project so far over many years and the $1.8m NSW Environmental Trust Grant is not wasted.

So come on, what’s really stopping you supporting the GreenWay?


High-vis help for cyclists

I have always assumed the yellow, orange bright jackets and tops was a good way to be visible while reading. Although I have read on some bike sites that orange is actually more visible than yellow, despite the fact that most high-vis cycling gear is luminous yellow. I ride in both summer and winter with yellow high-vis tops or jackets.

So I was intrigued to read this article on the BikeWise website about whether visible positioning or clothing has the greater impact on making a rider seen by pedestrians, cars and other traffic. I thought I’d publish some of the article on my blog as is raises some useful questions about the most sensible, and defensive, way to ride a bike. I guess it’s also a reminder about not getting complacent and assuming you’ll be spotted because you’ve got a blowing yellow jacket on while riding.

The full article is at the BikeWise website  and is Hi-Vis Clothing vs. Hi-Vis Road Positioning.

“…we think it’s your road positioning that has a much greatest impact on your safety and visibility in traffic. … If you ride near the centre of the lane, you are far more visible there than on the far left of the road near the ‘door zone’.”

This is because most drivers’ eyes are conditioned to look to the centre of the lane to see on-coming vehicles approaching. If you ride near the centre of the lane in such situations, you’re going to get seen. As an added benefit, you’re also going to see any cars approaching much sooner, because you have a better sightline of the intersection.

Visibility essentially comes down to two things: Seeing and Being Seen. Wearing Hi-Vis clothing will enhance your visibility, especially at night and when there is reduced light, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security that wearing a fluro vest will instantly make you visible to all other road users.  In the words of London Cyclist:

“My argument here isn’t against high vis clothing. My argument is: Don’t just rely on high vis clothing. There is something that far surpasses the power of high vis. Road positioning.”

More electric bikes coming soon?

Hot off the government press is this news that more electric bicycles will be coming into Australia. I just wrote about the Junji electric bike yesterday, so this is potentially good news to make it easier to get bikes like the Junji into the country and encourage longer commuter cycling.

Here’s the government blurb:

Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, Catherine
King, announced changes to the national vehicle safety standards that
allow for greater consumer choice—while at the same time maintaining

Ms King said that changes to the standard mean the allowable power
output has now increased from 200 to 250 watts giving a higher level or
performance, while maintaining safety by restricting powered speed to 25
km/h. Riders are required to pedal to access the power or to reach
greater speeds than 25 km/h.

The change also means new construction standards for batteries,
cables and connections as well as other requirements such as braking
performance and the strength of frames.

“In addition, existing designs of machines will continue to be allowed.”

The changes are an important first step towards an overall review by
Austroads of alternative vehicles, which would also include mobility
scooters, and a key action identified in Australia’s National Road
Safety Strategy 2011–20.

However, she said that changes to state and territory road rules may
be necessary to allow use of the new electric bicycles and advised
people to contact their state road authorities to confirm local

Cycling Resource Centre – New Rules Give Cyclists a Boost Australia.

via Cycling Resource Centre – New Rules Give Cyclists a Boost Australia.

6 Lame Excuses for Not Becoming a Bike Commuter: TreeHugger

This post comes from the excellent Treehugger site.  This is an excerpt. Find the full story, with cool pics, and lots of other interesting stuff at 6 Lame Excuses for Not Becoming a Bike Commuter (And How to Get Over Them).

If any of these six excuses are holding you back from bike commuting, it’s time to get over it.

1. You’re carrying too much stuff.

A chic messenger bag, a high-tech pannier, or just a classic basket can help you carry everything in style, and even leave room for you to stop on the way home and pick up those last-minute groceries.

And if dropping the kids off at daycare is part of your daily routine, then bring them along on the bike: Invest in a carrier, and then unhook it and leave it at the daycare provider until you’re back to pick them up in the afternoon. They’ll be happy to skip the rush-hour traffic, too.

2. It’s raining (or hot, or humid).

We know you don’t want to show up at work looking all bedraggled from a commute in wet weather, or from biking through humid city streets on the steamiest summer mornings.

But this problem is easily fixed with a few simple adjustments: First, you need the right gear. Look for breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics that won’t leave you soaked (or smelly), and durable, waterproof jackets that will keep most of the water away (like Runshade shirts from Patagonia and the Lightbeam hoodie from Nau).

It’s also a good idea to stash a change of clothes at your desk (or in your gym locker, if that’s nearby) for days when you didn’t check the weather before leaving the house — and toss in an extra stick of deodorant and a hairbrush for everyday use.

3. It’s snowing.

While winter cycling brings up some of the same issues as wet- or hot-weather riding (like wearing something that you can change out of when you get to work so you don’t end up in those ice-crusted pants at your 9 a.m. meeting), it also offers challenges that are all its own.

You need riding gear that’s warm but still breathable — check your local fitness store for cold-weather workout options — and a bike that can take on salty, icy, snowy streets (a mountain bike is often better than a road bike in these situations).

4. You don’t want helmet hair.

No one wants to have helmet hair at work, but there are ways you can deal with it. There’s the $470 collar helmet from Hovding, which only inflates on impact, but you can also try a low-maintenance hairstyle; keep a stash of products at your office; or plan to hit the gym and shower after the commute but before going into work.

5. It takes too long.

Depending on where you live (think bumper-to-bumper traffic, extra time needed to find a parking spot), cycling usually takes longer than driving. It may take longer than public transportation, too, but that depends on how close you live to the bus or train station and how reliable your city’s service is.

The physical side of things also means you can cut down (or totally eliminate) your daily card sessions at the gym. Just imagine: Instead of going from a stuffy office to a boring treadmill, you could let the fresh air and sunshine rejuvenate your spirit. Doesn’t that sound a lot better?

6. You’re scared of traffic.

Taking the proper safety precautions — like using signals and lights, riding in bike lanes, and following the traffic laws — lets drivers know where you are and what you’re doing, and that makes them able to give you the space you need to ride safely.

This is also the kind of fear that only goes away with plenty of practice — so look over these 10 tips for cycling with traffic, study up on the rules of the road, buckle your helmet and get out there. You’ll be so glad to be no longer stuck in those morning traffic jams that you’ll be more confident in no time.

The Jun Ji Folding Electric Bicycle Direct From China

One of my work colleagues saw this electric folding bike in the inner-west in Sydney recently.  I’ve never seen anything like this before so I looked it up on the net.

It’s called the Jun Ji electric folding bike and is made by an electronics manufacturing company called Zhanhui in Guangzhou, China. There are lots of different styles of the bikes.

I think they’re a winner and could take off in a city like Sydney that is (slowly and painfully) embracing a cycling culture. If you’ve got a distance to cover and want to avoid the delays of buses and trains in the city, this could be the answer.

This enterprising guy had imported two bikes, one for himself and the other for his wife, directly and said he got it in the country for $A500, which is pretty good. I think it’s a winner.

I found some information about the Jun Ji  on the San Francisco Citizen blog. It says it might be a little hard to order just one, but why not buy 78, enough to fill up an entire shipping container, from the Jun Ji Power at maybe $250 per and then sell 77 to your friends at a hefty markup.

The Junji Folding Bike

Pump it up

I’ve got a gripe about pumps. Cyclists will know what I’m talking about when I say that you need to have a good pump. Use a bad pump and you’ll never quite get your tyres full of air. Slightly flat tyres will give you a bumpy ride and make cycling that much harder.

I cycle to and from work with two panniers on the bike so flat tyres are particularly bad because the rear wheel will hit any bumps or grooves in the path very hard. This can obviously damage the rim but it makes for an unpleasant ride as well.

I’ve recently just attached a compact pump to my bike as I found that my tyres would be a bit flat when I was about to ride home. It does a good job of pumping up the tyres if they’re very flat but once they’re nearly inflated it won’t quite fill them all the way up. It’s handy to have it at my fingertips when I need it but I nearly lost it on one ride when I didn’t secure it with the little rubber catch and I knocked it off when I was hopping on the bike. I didn’t notice until I was about to get back on and ride home and luckily it was right under my foot when I looked for it.

I’ve had a couple of traditional pumps with the long barrel but they just don’t make them like they used to. They come loose very easily and the metal spiral falls out and the tube doesn’t hold in place so it’s easily lost. I’ve gone through three or four of these in the last year.

When I was growing up, I used these types of pumps and they seemed to last forever but not so now. I actually reckon that lots of things made these days are of inferior quality and don’t last long. Cheap plastic, not metal and not well manufactured, they’re just not what they once were.

If this pump fails, I might try a floor pump or ditch the pump all together. I often just stop in at the servo when the tyres need pumping up and grab the air pump and do it there. This high-pressure pump is the goods and it’ll fill the tyres so they’re hard and full. I can check the exact pressure in wheels and be sure they’re not over- or under-filled.

How do you pump your tyres? Home pump or pump at the garage? Old fashioned pump or new, compact-style pump?

Small and mostly efficient pump.

This is my new compact pump.


Old or new?

The old school pump vs the fancy new pump.


Where do you ride?

Plan your ride with a map or start cycling and see where it takes you?

The way I approach a ride depends on how and where I’m riding. If I’m riding with my partner and our two boys we stick to safe, familiar paths and cycleways. If I’m riding on my own, I usually stick to bike paths, cycleways or safe, quiet streets but I can be a bit more adventurous but I’m always concerned about cars. Here in Sydney, it’s unfortunate, but cyclists aren’t looked upon very favourably. I’ll write more on this in an upcoming post, but you don’t want to mix too much with cranky drivers who have usually fought their way through congested streets and the sight of a bike rider often fills them with rage at the idea of a hippe on a bike who hasn’t paid their taxes and therefore doesn’t have a right to be taking up lane space and slowing them down. There are some really bike friendly, considerate drivers. But it has to be said, there are some unenlightened drivers who think that cyclists don’t pay for the roads and don’t belong on them. Never mind that in a city the size of Sydney you very often need a car so many cyclists also own cars and do pay their road and vehicle taxes. Needless to say, cyclists have a right to ride anyway.

I recently purchased a great little book called WheretoRide Sydney: Best Cycling in City and Suburbs by Simon Hayes and I can’t wait to try out some more rides outside of our area. I do tend to think that I’m lucky to live along the Cooks River cycleway in Sydney so I can ride down to the beach or out the Homebush bay for swimming and picnics the other direction. I’m hoping to get some inspiration for other rides around the city and beyond with a bit of inside knowledge before we take our trailer and boys out riding in other areas.

Each ride has a map, ride log, gradiant/terrian details and description of the ride. Our trailer fits the two boys side-by-side but is narrow enough to fit in the cycleways and paths so we’re not too restricted in where we can cycle. The only real obstacle can be stairs and bollards in and out of paths. Ironically, the path at the end of our street to get down near the cycleway is the most difficult part of getting out to our ride.

As I try some new rides, I’ll post some blogs with pictures to share here and report back on what I find.

If you want to try cycling in Sydney, try the cycleways guide at

You can find helpful maps for cyclists at

All about cycling in London at

All about cycle mapping websites at

Map My Ride app and website info at

Do you plan your ride? How do you plan it?

Winter cycling is almost upon us

Cool weather cycling requires a bit more coverage. Credit: Stig Nygaard under CC.

I love cycling in Autumn and Winter. It’s not hot like Summer so it’s more pleasant and, as long as it’s not raining, I love the cool, crisp mornings for getting out on the bike. Sure, it’s a little chilly but that’s just a good excuse to get on some riding clothes for the cooler weather. I love specialist clothing and this time of year is the perfect excuse to buy a new cycling shell or long pants.

My cool weather cycling uniform consists of a few layers. It goes like this: base layer of long sleeve white cotton top. I don’t usually go for a singlet as this can lead to overheating if cycling for longer than about 20 minutes. In Australia, on the Eastern Seaboard where I am it’s just not that cold so overheating can be a problem with winter/autumn riding.

Then I have a breathable shell jacket with removable arms if it’s on the warm side. This gives good protection from the cool wind when starting out but can be used for a bit of cool protection but also heat escape with the arms zipped out. Then I go for cycling undies with long-leg tights over the top that are cotton/spandex. They are not dedicated cycling or compression tights as I’m recreational riding and not racing riding so don’t need this extra speed factor.

Gloves are a must in winter as the fingers freeze on the handle bars but in autumn it’s okay to go without these. Always sunglasses whatever the season as I don’t like light or glare. I have a neat pair bought from the Velogear website that only cost about $A50 and have interchangeable lenses so in summer or high-glare I have reflective lense and in lower light and less glare I opt for a lense to cut out a bit of light but not darken the landscape too much.

This is about it and let’s me layer up and layer down depending on whether I stop on the riding and need a jacket when I cool down. I usually ride with my two boys in a trailer on the weekends so a stop at the park is obligatory so I usually through in a sunhat for the park, even in winter as the sun is still strong and bright in winter.

What do you like to wear for cool weather cycling?

Ride On blog on bike lights

This comes from the Ride On blog and you can find it here:

The 2012 top 50 is the result of testing 30 new lights and comparing these lights to those tested last year that are still currently available. Some of this year’s lights didn’t make the resulting top 50 list for this year because the lights of last year are superior.

All results from this year and last were put through the same formulas, which are slightly different from last year. This explains why last year’s lights may have different scores this year. The important thing is that all lights are judged the same way.

The increasing convenience of bike lights continues, with many of the new crop being USB rechargeable and mounted with easy-to-use silicone straps. Weight and size is also not an issue now, with technology so improved. The Best in test front light of this year at 36 grams is nearly a third of the weight of last year’s Best in test.

Visibility has improved in the front lights without a corresponding hike in price. In fact, the Best in test this year is more visible and $20 cheaper than last year’s.

Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.  ~Albert Einstein