Archive for May, 2013

May 31, 2013 6

Seems like everywhere you go these days there are some kind of rules.  And just like everything else, there are cycling rules and road rules that apply to cyclists in New South Wales. I thought it might be worthwhile, blogging on exactly what these are so we all know the rules and our rights on […]

Seems like everywhere you go these days there are some kind of rules.  And just like everything else, there are cycling rules and road rules that apply to cyclists in New South Wales.

I thought it might be worthwhile, blogging on exactly what these are so we all know the rules and our rights on the road.  Particularly if like me, you sat for your driver’s licence test about a million years ago and you are a bit rusty on the detail.

bike pic

If you want to brush up on the details  – go here:

http://www.bicycleinfo.nsw.gov.au/get_riding/nsw_road_rules.html

Cyclists are required by law to:

  • Wear a helmet – worn at all times when riding a bike
  • Have front and rear lights – must be fitted and used if riding at night
  • Have a bell or horn – fitted and in working order
  • Obey all road rules including stopping at red lights and stop signs
  • Use signed and marked bike lanes where available

Contrary to what anyone tells you, as a bike rider on the road you can:

  • Pass other vehicles on the left, except when those vehicles are indicating and turning left
  • Travel to the front line of traffic on the left hand side of stopped vehicles (again, except when those vehicles are indicating and turning left)
  • Take up a whole traffic lane (yes, a whole lane)
  • Ride a maximum of two abreast in a lane, not more than 1.5 metres apart
  • Cycle in bus lanes and transit lanes (but not bus only lanes)
  • Ride on footpaths that are designated shared paths
If there is bike lane available - use it!

If there is bike lane available – use it!

And what you CAN NOT do – ride on footpaths – unless you are under 12 years of age, accompanying a rider under 12 or again the footpath is a designated shared path. What’s a designated shared path? Click here for more info http://sydneycycleways.net/the-network/types-of-cycleways/shared-path

Next week…. Rules for riding in bike lanes, separated cycle ways, shared paths, shoulder lanes, mixed traffic lanes – oh the list is endless! So many rules, so little time.

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

May 30, 2013 00

I need some fresh air. I ride a bike. For intelligent commentary about whatever current international cycling event is on – the Giro, the Tour. I ride a bike. When I’m feeling a bit blue. I ride a bike. To catch up with a bike-riding friend for a ride and a coffee. I ride a […]

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I need some fresh air. I ride a bike.

For intelligent commentary about whatever current international cycling event is on – the Giro, the Tour. I ride a bike.

When I’m feeling a bit blue. I ride a bike.

To catch up with a bike-riding friend for a ride and a coffee. I ride a bike.

My favourite form of exercise. I ride a bike.

I prefer life on two wheels I ride a bike.

Wanting to smash it up a hill repeatedly and hurt my legs! I ride a bike.

Practising my balancing abilities. I ride a bike.

I like food too much. I ride a bike.

If it’s good enough for Clover, it’s good enough for me. I ride a bike.

I can justify having several different bike types for several different uses! I ride a bike.

I have no car rego or insurance costs. I ride a bike.

To avoid the smelly old bus. I ride a bike.

I need to do something by myself, for myself. I ride a bike.

To see Sydney in a way you can’t do by car. I ride a bike.

I like to tell myself that I’d leave those people in spin classes for dust! I ride a bike.

Faster than walking, public transport, or the car. I ride a bike.

To sit around with my lycra clad friends and drink coffee. I ride a bike.

I’m getting older and it reminds me of being a kid. I ride a bike.

To prove that all those stupid running injuries can’t stop me. I ride a bike.

After an annoying day at work I need to unwind. I ride a bike.

To carry things in a basket. I ride a bike.

To get up in the darkness of a winter’s morning and pedalling into Centennial Park through fog. I ride a bike.

To do a brick session. I ride a bike.

It’s clean and green. I ride a bike.

To always have the best parking spot. I ride a bike.

John F Kennedy said “nothing compares with the simple pleasure of a bike ride” and I agree with him. I ride a bike.

Because it’s fun. I ride a bike.

When I need a few things from the shops and I don’t want to drive round and round the car park. I ride a bike.

To hang with the cool kids at work in the bicycle lock up area. I ride a bike.

Raising money for MS by travelling from Sydney to the Gong. I ride a bike.

A quick trip to Bondi Beach in summertime. I ride a bike.

Shipping containers, Long bay, beaches, just the usual. I ride a bike.

I’ve mastered cleats and feel like a pro. I ride a bike.

To look great in lycra. I ride a bike.

To make new friends. I ride a bike.

I fall off. I dust myself off, and get back on. I ride a bike.

I cancelled my gym membership. I ride a bike.

I sleep better. I ride a bike.

It’s low impact on my poor old knees. I ride a bike.

Independence. Go where I want to go, when I want to go. I ride a bike.

To complete the best stage of the triathlon! I ride a bike.

Passing the boys so they are “chicked”. I ride a bike.

When people criticise the bike lanes I can tell them that I use them, and they are great. I ride a bike.

I know about butt cream and I’m not afraid to use it. I ride a bike.

Cruising in the bus lane and passing the traffic. I ride a bike.

For endless hours of shopping pleasure buying every foreseeable accessory. I ride a bike.

Mid winter rides, soaking wet and kinda cold, but still pleased with myself for getting out and doing it. I ride a bike.

To wear arm warmers. I ride a bike.

For crazy tan lines. I ride a bike.

Just taking me from A to B. I ride a bike.

 

Because I can. I ride a bike.

 

Why do you ride? Share with anyone who rides a bike….

Happy cycling! BikeGal.com

May 28, 2013 00

If you are a cyclist in Sydney currently the situation is looking a little dire. North Sydney Council is holding off upgrading the very well used St Leonards Park path with pedestrians there being assaulted by cyclists and Leichhardt Council is cutting $400,000 from their cycling budget! Let’s start with the situation in North Sydney…. […]

If you are a cyclist in Sydney currently the situation is looking a little dire. North Sydney Council is holding off upgrading the very well used St Leonards Park path with pedestrians there being assaulted by cyclists and Leichhardt Council is cutting $400,000 from their cycling budget!

Let’s start with the situation in North Sydney….

Most of the uproar for North Sydney cyclists seemed to start back in March when the Council deferred the upgrade to the shared use path through St Leonards Park. Proposed work included widening the path, relocating lights and asphalt re-surfacing.

Around that time too, the Daily Telegraph (who are so pro cycling – not), ran a story about an aggressive cyclist assaulting a pedestrian by shoving them to the ground in this very park.

On 8 April, North Sydney Council accepted a petition from 80 people “opposing bicycles being allowed to use St Leonards Park, except when used for leisure”.

And then the Mayor of North Sydney comes out and says cyclists should use the road instead of shared paths!

St Leonards Park is a key connector for cyclists seeking to get off the very busy and dangerous Miller St and join up with the Willoughby to Epping Road Cycleway cycle path network, or the Mosman-Beauty Point backstreets route to the Northern Beaches.

St Leonards Park

St Leonards Park

Interestingly 80 people opposed cycling on this path, yet a petition set up by Bike North has attracted more than 1,000 responses supporting the upgrade of this very path for cycling.

 Support Bike North’s petition to upgrade the shared path through St Leonards Park,  here:

http://www.communityrun.org/petitions/make-sure-north-sydney-council-provides-paths-and-cycle-lanes-for-all-cyclists

Currently the project to upgrade the path is on hold pending the outcomes of a bike strategy review.

Certainly not all cyclists are bad and not all cyclists are aggressive and go around pushing pedestrians over. However, I have witnessed a few Sydney cyclists struggling with the concept of ‘shared’ path – yes I mean sharing. Sharing the path with pedestrians means you cannot ride flat out and there will be other users there.

Centennial Park enjoyed trying to explain this recently when they considered introducing speed bumps into the park, to slow down cyclists and protect children and parents crossing Grand Drive to use the kids cycling area.

Centennial Park attracts lots of people using the park in different ways

Centennial Park attracts lots of people using the park in different ways

Cyclists were up in arms immediately. And true, Centennial Park is one of the few safe areas to cycle in Sydney yet it’s also a park used by walkers, runners, dogs, horse, rollerbladers, kids, just to name a few. However you could also argue that the speed bumps would then make it dangerous for cyclists?

Centennial Park have responded with a love the park, share the park campaign – it advocates cyclists only ride to a maximum of 30km/hour. We all know that rule is broken quite often….

Centennial park's love the park share the park campaign

Centennial park’s love the park share the park campaign

Centennial Park is basically my backyard – I am a resident, I cycle there, I run there, I take small children there, I walk a dog there. So I could see all sides. It’s a tough one –Should cyclists have to share the park with other users and reduce their speed? How do you please all Park users?

 I cannot answer that question, as I’m still trying to understand how Leichhardt Council can issue its budget for the next year and remove $400,000 from the cycling budget!

Leichhardt Council has a good reputation for its 2007-12 Bicycle Strategy and the number of cyclists is always growing.

Continued funding is vital to complete and improve the cycling network, so the coming generation can cycle safely and easily around Leichhardt. This simply can not happen with no money.

 And yes here’s another petition for you to tell Leichhardt Council you want some money put back in the cycling budget please!

http://www.communityrun.org/petitions/maintain-the-funding-for-the-leichhardt-bike-plan

I welcome your comments – how do we get cyclists to share paths and how do we get Leichhardt to give us back some cycling budget? Hmmmm….

May 9, 2013 2

Another guest blogger! Today’s blog comes from my friend and Aunt Chris who lives in NZ. She only took up cycling a few years ago and she just completed 600 kms in seven days in the tour of NZ which was held in late April. She was also the fastest female in the 60+ age […]

Another guest blogger! Today’s blog comes from my friend and Aunt Chris who lives in NZ. She only took up cycling a few years ago and she just completed 600 kms in seven days in the tour of NZ which was held in late April. She was also the fastest female in the 60+ age category (as well as the only woman of her age mad enough o take on the challenge!). She is living proof that it’s never too late to start cycling.

If you would like to share your cycling adventures overseas or even your everyday travels – email me! info@bikegal.com with a photo of you and your bike. Tell us why you ride, where you like to ride.

Now… over to our guest blogger Chris…

When I bought my road bike 4 years ago the manual sternly warned of all sorts of ways you could injure or kill yourself if you didn’t follow the instructions (no doubt to protect against law suits).   It didn’t tell you about an even greater danger; cycle addiction.

My name is Chris, and yes, I have become one of those addicts.  Starting with pleasant 20km rides in 2009 I progressed inexorably on to harder stuff (think, the 160km Lake Taupo Challenge) (Editor’s note – a gruelling kiwi ride).   I cycled over mountain passes in China, and cruised around the temples of Myanmar.

Last week I went mainline, cycling the length of the North Island of New Zealand  – 600 plus kilometres in 7 days – as part of the Tour of NZ challenge.   Ho hum, you may say, if you are a fellow addict.   But I should add that I am 63 years old and I think that makes it quite an achievement.

Tour of NZ – our route – from top to bottom

It was a great adventure.   If I didn’t already realise how hilly New Zealand was, I certainly know it now.  We rode some very beautiful country roads although my interest in the scenery did falter from time to time.    The wind was mostly from behind which was a great help since the event proved very much a race rather than a tour.  We had mixed weather: torrential rain in Northland, very cool temperatures on the central plateau, and strong headwinds on the final day.

Nikki and I tackling one of the mega hills with gusto!

I was thrilled to finish the fastest female veteran in the 60 plus category.   The achievement is perhaps a little less magnificent than it might seem… I was also the only woman in that age group.  Nikki, who came over from Sydney to ride with me, won the 50-59 category.

Some stretching after day one

Some of the beautiful scenery along the way through Waipoua Forest

And it wasn’t all sunshine!

There were only about 50 of us on the ride so it was easy to get to know everyone, and they were a very friendly, helpful bunch.  Nikki and I had a lot of fun with Francine, a French Canadian woman who is travelling alone around New Zealand on her bike.

Left to Right, me, Nikki and Francine all rugged up in what Nikki called our “slow clothes”. Our attire always differentiated us from the gun riders who seemed to go out in all weathers wearing just their light cycle tops.

I am not writing this to brag, but to show that it is never too late to become a cyclist and enjoy the benefits that come with it; fitness; camaraderie and a chance to see the world differently.  You can enjoy all this, whether you choose to ride for fun or decide to take it more seriously.  It might seem hard work at first but stick with it and you will find it very rewarding.

If you do enjoy wind, rain and lots of hills then perhaps you would come over for the next Tour of NZ in 2015 (www.tourofnewzealand.co.nz).

Given the nature of addiction, I do worry about where mine will end….. has anyone cycled up Everest yet?

May 7, 2013 00

 We have probably all had this experience. You walk into the bike store, it’s full of male sales assistants serving male customers buying men’s bikes. And when you finally get someone’s attention for some help they talk to you like you have no idea! Okay okay, maybe I’m stereotyping and maybe this situation is changing […]

 We have probably all had this experience. You walk into the bike store, it’s full of male sales assistants serving male customers buying men’s bikes. And when you finally get someone’s attention for some help they talk to you like you have no idea!

Okay okay, maybe I’m stereotyping and maybe this situation is changing – but is it changing fast enough to keep pace with the growing number of female cyclists?

So I thought maybe it’s time to find out where Sydney’s best bike shop for female cyclists is. As voted by you!  Sydney’s female cycling sorority.

Go here to vote now http://apps.facebook.com/my-surveys/bikegal

(Yes sorry it’s via facebook – it was the easiest way…)

We are all busy girls and don’t have time to waste in useless stores. So now is your chance to have your say, and share about those fantastic stores that give great service and those that are …well.. not so great.

Recently via my facebook page I started asking about your experiences with Sydney bike shops.  And the stories came pouring in. Here are just a few of my favourites – I’ll leave it up to you to work out who wrote them and which store they are talking about!

“I am a very experienced cyclist and coach. 

Wanting to buy my first dual suspension mountain bike I went to this store some years ago. I rode a more expensive model to what I had my eye on and was promised that they would swap the double chainring for a triple.

When I went to buy the bike there were total denials. I was called a liar, bullied even though I threatened not to buy it and leave them with the $700 deposit. I was treated as if I knew nothing about bikes! They said to make the changeover would cost $1000 so I didn’t make the changeover I bought the bike and never went back there again.  

The bike is a lemon and I have spent over a $1000 to keep it running. “

Ouch! Horrible story.

“I have been riding for several years now and know a thing or two about bikes. I went to this store and was pretty much ignored by the sales staff. I waited and waited for someone to acknowledge my existence!

In the end I went up to the counter in the hope of getting some help, and even then no one approached me. After hanging around in the store for about 20 minutes, I gave up and left.

What really annoyed me, is that one of the sales staff was pretty much having a social chat with someone, as I heard snippets of the conversation as I left the store. I won’t be going back any time soon.”

Eeek! That one is even worse.

“I like to go into bike shops just to have a look around and ‘window’ shopping!  So, one Thursday night, I walked into the store. They have beautiful bikes with ‘hefty’ price tags too but the guys were so friendly and helpful. I was looking for a pair of Sunglasses at that time and they helped me out. Since then, I bought a few accessories from them and I’m still going back just to look around. They still remembered me even though I didn’t buy any significant items from them.”

Well that’s a nicer story.

“I came across this shop when I was doing training rides for the Ride to Conquer Cancer last year. They are always very helpful. They only have a small shop but I noticed that they treated everyone the same as soon as they walked in the door.

 I bought my road bike from them. They gave me good service.

They wentout their way to make sure my bike was perfect.

I fell down A LOT!!! ( ehm…cleats issues! ) So much so that I bent my back derailleur so many times and they had to keep adjusting it for me. They didn’t have to do this for me, but they did it anyway.”

And that last story is the other end of the scale.

So clearly there is are all sorts of bike stores out there, let’s find Sydney’s best stores for BikeGals.

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com