Archive for the ‘Commuting’ Category

June 30, 2013 00

Following on from my last post about road rules, this week we are looking at all the cycling rules when cycling in bike lanes, cycleways, shared paths etc and what do all those signs mean? Bike lanes These are separated, marked spaces on the road especially for cyclists. And if there is one of these, by […]

Following on from my last post about road rules, this week we are looking at all the cycling rules when cycling in bike lanes, cycleways, shared paths etc and what do all those signs mean?

Bike lanes

bike lane sign

These are separated, marked spaces on the road especially for cyclists. And if there is one of these, by law you must use it if it’s practical to do so, i.e. if there is a truck parked over it, it may not be practical to do so. Just use your common sense. Watch for pedestrians and car doors opening. They look like the photo below –

bike lane image

Separated cycleways

separated cycleway sign

These are dedicated lanes for bike riders, separated from other vehicles and pedestrians by a kerb. You have priority on a cycleway but be careful as drivers and pedestrians are still about and may not see you. Make sure you give way where a give way sign or logo is displayed and give way to pedestrians on crossings.

Separated cycleways look like this:

separated cycleway

When the cycleway ends or changes, you may have to merge with other traffic and share the road with vehicles. Be aware of the change and take care.

Shared paths

shared path sign

These are often in parks and on some footpaths, shared paths are for cyclists and people walking. Pedestrians have priority here and you must give way to them.

shared path image

Bike only contra-flow lanes

This enables cyclists to travel on roads that are marked one way for other vehicles – i.e. you can ride along it in the opposite direction. You do not have to use this lane, and may instead use the traffic lane and travel in the same direction as traffic. They look like this:

contra flow bike lane

Look out for part 3 of road rules where we will explore what you can get fined for – yes you can get fined on a bike!

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

June 25, 2013 00

So if you had assumed that all of Sydney city’s cycle paths would be interconnected sooner rather than later – think again. At today’s meeting of the Central Sydney Traffic and Transport Committee (created by Premier O’Farrell to improve transport planning in the city of Sydney) the group voted against getting on with the work […]

So if you had assumed that all of Sydney city’s cycle paths would be interconnected sooner rather than later – think again.

At today’s meeting of the Central Sydney Traffic and Transport Committee (created by Premier O’Farrell to improve transport planning in the city of Sydney) the group voted against getting on with the work to extend the separated cycleway on Kent St from Druitt to Liverpool St.

This cycleway provides cyclists with a way to move particularly between the city’s north and through to areas such as Chinatown, Darling Harbour and Pyrmont. It is also a crucial route for cyclists to access the Harbour Bridge.

The Kent St cycleway - courtesy of smh.com.au

The Kent St cycleway – courtesy of smh.com.au

The Committee is unfortunately made up of four members from State Government bureaucracy vs three members from the City of Sydney including Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

They voted 4-3 (what a surprise!) to not finish the cycleway until the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy is completed – a strategy that integrates all travel modes including pedestrians, cycling, trains, light rail and buses.

As noted by Jacob Saulwick in the Sydney Morning Herald article yesterday,  the proposal to extend this part of the cycleway along Kent St ‘has been before the (O’Farrell) government for its entire term in office’!

Prior to the vote, Clover Moore asked the Committee to not delay the cycleway work and acknowledged to the room, which included many of Sydney’s cycling advocates such as BIKESydney, Bicycle NSW, BIKEast, that the Kent St cycleway was “a critical route.”

She said the recommendation put forward to delay its completion was shocking and she would not support it.

“To not proceed with Kent Street (cycleway) is a real set back,” she added.

Many of Sydney’s cycling community in the room were not surprised by the decision and most agreed that this has been coming for a while however the disappointment and frustration was obvious on many faces.

This Committee is meant to meet four times a year – so far they have met once, last November, so today marks their second meeting.

So what can we do about it?

I encourage you to express your disappointment to as many Ministers as you can.

Express it to the NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay by emailing him office@gay.minister.nsw.gov.au and letting him know you would like the Central Sydney Traffic and Transport Committee to stop delaying crucial parts of Sydney’s cycleway from being completed.

Or express it to the NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian by contacting her here.

Or express it to Sydney media such as the Sydney Morning Herald.

Or express it to the Minister for Planning (Hazzard), Minister for Health (Skinner – as we all know cycling has health benefits!) and the Minister for Healthy Living (Humphries).

Email all of them a short email requesting the urgent delivery of the Central Sydney Access Strategy.

 If you need ideas on what to write – click here and scroll down to David Borella from BIKESydney’s comments where he has kindly shared his letter…

We’ve waited long enough!

June 20, 2013 2

On a cold and wet Sydney afternoon I took a trip to Marrickville to visit the store who won our recent survey  to find Sydney’s best bicycle store for female cyclists. I can confess, I had never heard of them.  And what or who is Omafiets??! ‘Omafiets’ is a Dutch word that literally means ‘grandma […]

On a cold and wet Sydney afternoon I took a trip to Marrickville to visit the store who won our recent survey  to find Sydney’s best bicycle store for female cyclists.

Chris accepts the certificate from Rachael from BikeGal.com

I can confess, I had never heard of them.  And what or who is Omafiets??!

‘Omafiets’ is a Dutch word that literally means ‘grandma bike’. No this doesn’t mean they only sell bikes for grannies – it’s referring to a style of bike that has been widely copied for its ease of riding, good looks and reliability.

The majority of bikes at Omafiets are second hand, upright, comfy bikes.

Ollie, Maurice and Chris opened Omafiets in 2010 and their ethos is simple. They just want to get people cycling and provide great bicycles for transport and getting around.

Maurice, Ollie and Chris with their BikeGal.com certificate – winners are grinners!

Having met them, I can now understand why they won. What a nice bunch of blokes who just want to get you cycling! They are relaxed and friendly but clearly know a lot about bicycles and cycling. No macho BS here!

Here is my interview with them.

Congratulations on your win, why do you think you won?

Maurice: “We believe everyone can cycle. I guess our store has got away from the male dominated, sports side of it, most of our bikes are more for getting around. Even our road bikes are more for day rides.

Also Chain Lynx started here which was all about teaching women bike maintenance skills.”

Do you have any female employees?

Maurice: “No! We want some! We are trying to find them!”

So most of your bikes are second hand? Where do they come from?

Chris: “We actually import second hand bikes from the Netherlands.”

How old are the bikes?

Chris: “They range from the 1980s to 2000s. Some are more vintage than others.”

So why are there so many second hand bikes in the Netherlands?

Maurice: “The Netherlands actually has a tax incentive in place so residents can literally write off a new bike through tax every few years.”

How often do you get a new shipment of bikes?

Ollie: “About every six to twelve months we get about 100 to 150 bikes.”

Do you check each bike?

Chris: “Yes, we want to be able to tell people you can rely on these bikes.”

How much are your bikes?

Ollie: “They range from about $400 up to $1000 or more.”

Do you only have commuter bikes then?

Ollie: “No we have all sorts of bikes – road bikes, cargo bikes, electric bikes, kids bikes, tandems… There is a bicycle to solve every problem.”

What sort of new bikes?

Maurice: “We stock the Dutch Gazelle range, Allegro bicycles, and Jamis commuter bikes.”

Do women ask more questions when buying a bike? Is that true?

Chris: “Yes, we think so. We find that women tend to have lots more questions than men.”

Who are your usual customers?

Maurice: “Mostly we get local people or some will come specifically to us because they have heard about us. We often get people who are trying to get back into cycling. And then we try and find them a comfy bike and tell them to go do a City of Sydney cycling course.”

I heard you do something with old second hand bikes?

Ollie: “Yes, Chris and I are part of the Bicycle Garden, a volunteer group that fixes them up and gives them to asylum seekers through St Vincents de Paul.”

So there you have it – our winners for 2013!

I can confess I’ve never recommended buying a second hand bike, but having met these three, I think you could trust them to sell you a reliable second hand bicycle.

Well done to Omafiets! Go and visit Chris, Ollie and Maurice at 117B Addison Road, Marrickville (on Agar St). www.omafiets.com.au

The Omafiets store

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 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….

April 1, 2013 00

So sorry for the delay on getting this blog up – I’ve been sick…. Anyway, here it is! We are here, week 6. Well done to you for making it this far. By now if you have been trying everything in these blogs you should be ok at braking, cornering, getting out of the saddle, […]

So sorry for the delay on getting this blog up – I’ve been sick…. Anyway, here it is! We are here, week 6. Well done to you for making it this far.

By now if you have been trying everything in these blogs you should be ok at braking, cornering, getting out of the saddle, indicating and dealing with some traffic.

The last piece of the puzzle is considering where on the road to ride.

This may sound silly but it’s super important and will help with your confidence on the road while commuting by bike.

Repeat after me – I will not ride in the gutter!  You don’t need to. Legally you are allowed to own the lane. By this I mean, ride in the middle of the lane not on the far left. This means cars actually have to change lanes to go around you, instead of trying to squeeze past you.

If you ride in the gutter, you can expect cars to try and sneak past you in your lane and they will come close and probably give you a fright.

So….

Own the lane – take the whole lane. Ride in the middle of the lane. If motorists don’t like this, that is your problem. You are legally allowed to. Even better, ride with a friend and ride two abreast. Again you are allowed to do this and you will feel much safer doing so. Of course, if you are commuting on a regular cycle route, give other cyclists enough room to pass you on the right. Taking the lane also means you are out of harm’s way in terms of car doors opening on you.

Don’t run red lights. It makes you look like a doofus, it gives the rest of us a bad name and it’s dangerous. You could hit a car or a pedestrian. If you wouldn’t do it while driving, then don’t do it on a bike.

When in dedicated bike lanes, stick to the left unless you are overtaking. And when you are overtaking, it’s courteous to ring your bell or call out and let the cyclist in front of you know you are coming past them. E.g. “passing on the right”, “I’m on your right” etc.

Don’t ride on the footpath. Unless you are with a little person or the footpath is dedicated cycle paths (which happens – e.g. Victoria Road), it’s illegal to ride on the footpath. You will cause angst for pedestrians too. Not worth it.

buyingabike

Some road rules apply specifically to cyclists. Did you know you can:

  • Ride two abreast, no more than 1.5 m apart
  • Overtake on the left hand side of stopped or slow moving vehicles
  • Travel in Bus Lanes and Transit Lanes
  • Ride on the footpath if less than 12 years old
  • Ride on the footpath if you are an adult riding with, and supervising, an under 12 year old
  • Turn right from the left hand lane of a multi-lane roundabout with the proviso that you give way to traffic exiting the roundabout before you
  • Travel on road shoulders.

If you don’t believe me go http://www.bicycleinfo.nsw.gov.au/riding_safely/nsw_road_rules.html and check it out!

Congratulations on getting this far. I hope by now you are feeling more confident.

But what if you’re not?

If not, don’t fret. These things take time.  It took me much longer than six weeks to get the courage to commute to work on my bike. And if that’s you too, well so be it.

It may just mean a few more rides on quiet back streets or in a park until you get your confidence up.

Give yourself a pat on the back for giving this a go. Cycling as an adult is not the same as cycling as a kid. So well done for being brave and getting out there.

Let me know how you go!!

In the future, we will also run a special blog on cycling in cleats. Stay tuned.

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

 

March 14, 2013 00

Congratulations for making it this far! I’m super proud of you. Only this week and next week to go… So this week’s objectives – cornering, making eye contact with drivers and considering your commuting route. Cornering Find a nice quiet street with some corners …. – Break before the corner – Practise leaning slightly into […]

Congratulations for making it this far! I’m super proud of you. Only this week and next week to go…

So this week’s objectives – cornering, making eye contact with drivers and considering your commuting route.

header4

Cornering

Find a nice quiet street with some corners ….

– Break before the corner

– Practise leaning slightly into the corner

– As you go into the corner, lean your weight on the feet on the outside pedal. i.e. the foot on the outside pedal should be facing down towards the road. This may sound counter intuitive but makes more sense when you do it.

– The foot on the inside pedal nearest the corner should be up. (watch the first minute of this – especially around 40 seconds you can see them cornering with the inside leg up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU-YIeXxuDs).

– Try cornering both left and right and ideally start with some big sweeping corners before trying tighter corners

– Also notice what gear you are in, similar to going up a hill, a higher gear will just give you a bit more stability going into the corner

Making eye contact with drivers

This is by far the best advice I’ve ever received. The best way to stay safe on the road and ensure motorists let you in, is to look over your shoulder and make eye contact with the driver behind you.

Particularly when turning or indicating, if you’ve locked eyes with them you know they have seen you.

It also means you are now suddenly a person to them and not just another cyclist.

When you look back at the motorist be careful not to steer off in a crazy direction! (Oh it happens!).

Often after making eye contact, a motorist will give you more space which is a good thing.

maps
Choosing your route carefully

This week I also want you to start considering your commuting route to work. By this I mean, don’t assume that the way you would drive is the way you will cycle.

Investigate bike paths (although if you are not a confident cyclist, these can be pretty crazy busy in peak hour) or check our quieter roads which may take you on a slightly further journey but make you feel safe.

If you can, try driving it just to see what it might be like.

Choosing your route is super important so spend the time considering it. Don’t forget there are lots of great places you can ride where a car can’t go – e.g. Darling Harbour or around the front of the convention centre, and these may be options for you on your route.

If you are having trouble ask other cyclists or you can ask me and I can share it with the BikeGal community. Someone will have an answer for you.

Some councils have also now produced bike maps, which show the local area and the best routes for bikes. So contact your local council too.

Riding up hills out of the saddle

I hope you are starting to make progress with riding up hills and getting out of the saddle.

Don’t forget that unless you are riding up a really really steep hill, if you have lots of gears you don’t have to get out of your saddle to get up the hill. And very worse case scenario – you can always hop off and walk. There is no harm in that.

Next week we are going to have a review of everything and see where you are up to!

I hope it’s going well – email me and let me know info@bikegal.com

Happy cycling!
BikeGal.com

March 7, 2013 2

Congratulations on making it to week 4! I am super proud of you and hope you are starting to feel a bit more relaxed on your bike. Bit by bit, you will feel more comfortable and more relaxed. It just takes a little time and spending that time in the saddle. This week’s entire objective […]

Congratulations on making it to week 4! I am super proud of you and hope you are starting to feel a bit more relaxed on your bike.

Bit by bit, you will feel more comfortable and more relaxed. It just takes a little time and spending that time in the saddle.

This week’s entire objective is to get comfortable riding out of the saddle.

gears

Now no one is asking you to scream up hills like those boofheads do in the Tour de France!

Last week I asked you to just try getting up from the saddle and trying a few pedals and sitting down again.

This week we are going to take it a step further.

Find a small hill and as you start up the hill, make sure you are in a bigger gear. Get up out of the saddle, lean your weight forward on your handlebars and notice how it’s different going up the hill out of the saddle. It’s also hard work!

In fact, cycling up a hill sitting in the saddle is actually the more efficient way to get up the hill but as you get stronger and more confident, you will notice you are more capable of riding up a hill out of the saddle.

Try going up and down a gentle hill several times.

Notice how as you move up the hill out of the saddle, you start to get a bit of a rhythm as you are working your legs and your body naturally starts to move a bit left and right as you go.

If at any time this feels scary, just go back to the flat and just try standing up again for a few seconds while riding on the flat.

It took me quite a while to feel comfortable getting out of the saddle and riding up a hill. And lots of the time, even now, I still stay seated going up hills and there is nothing wrong with that.

Getting up a hill also means being in the right gear. As you get to know a hill that your ride repeatedly, you will get to know the best gear to be in. Sometimes you will be in too high a gear and it will be too hard, and other times you will be in too small a gear and you will find it hard to get out of the saddle – as you won’t have the right tension on the bike to do it (does that make sense!!).

I remember one day riding up a steep hill around the back of Rozelle, and half way up the hill I realised it was getting steeper, but I didn’t have the dexterity to shift down a gear! So I literally just stopped, got off and walked up the hill. I felt a bit silly, but hey who cares. It’s all a learning experience.

Next week we will look at cornering, making eye contact with drivers and considering your commuting route. And in the last week we will have a recap on everything.

I will also give you a special week further down the track about how to ride in cleats.

But for this week – just try getting out of the saddle and going up a hill out of the saddle. If you only make it up half the hill or a quarter of the hill, that’s totally cool.

If you get the wobbles on the way up, sit back down. Just start to get the feel of it.

Share your stories!

How is the program going for you? I would love to hear your stories. You can email me info@bikegal.com or find BikeGal.com on facebook and tell me about it.

Using your drink bottle while cycling?

One new cyclist Vera got in touch via email – she’s having trouble being able to eat and drink while cycling. Vera – this is certainly a skill!

Initially try just touching the top of your drink bottle. Whatever you do though, don’t look down. Look ahead and just feel for it – you will get the hang of it. If you cycle somewhere where it’s safe (like a park), you can also try getting the bottle out and drinking, and if you can’t get it back in, throw it to the side and come back for it next lap.

This happened to me once – because I couldn’t get it back in and couldn’t un clip without putting both hands on the handlebars. So I had no choice.

Drinking while cycling is great once you get the hang of it. I generally try to do it on a flat bit of road that I know, so I can keep one hand on the handlebars and drink with the other.

Probably wait until you feel really comfy taking your hands off the handlebars though before attempting to drink.

Got suggestions for how to ride up a hill or drink from your drink bottle while cycling? Please share in the comments below or email me.

Good luck!

Happy cycling,
BikeGal.com x

February 28, 2013 00

Can you believe it we are already at week 3! Hope it’s going well. This week again repeat the previous weeks drills aiming to remain calm and be comfortable in taking a hand off the handlebars. Riding at different speeds This week is also time to try riding at different speeds – how slowly can […]

Can you believe it we are already at week 3! Hope it’s going well.

This week again repeat the previous weeks drills aiming to remain calm and be comfortable in taking a hand off the handlebars.

lost

Riding at different speeds

This week is also time to try riding at different speeds – how slowly can you go with out toppling over or getting stressed? When riding in traffic and commuting it’s important to be able to adjust your speed. So imagine you are riding up to a traffic light and waiting for it to change – pick a tree as your traffic light and ride as slowly as you can up to it without actually coming to a complete stop.

And in the reverse, can you go quite fast and also remain relaxed?

Stopping quickly

Commuting on a bike means you absolutely MUST be able to stop quickly. Without doubt there will be occasions where you will have to react and stop quickly.

So for this drill you will need a friend. Pick somewhere safe and flat where you can ride towards them. From about 50 metres away from them ride towards them and when they clap you need to stop as quickly as you can. Keep practising it. The idea behind this is you won’t know when they are going to clap – so you just have to be ready!

Riding out of the saddle

If you haven’t done this for some time it can be a bit daunting at first. So this week while on the flat, just try lifting your bottom out of the saddle and putting all your weight forward into your feet and onto your pedals. You may have to lean forward a little to do this. You also want to be in a higher/bigger gear when you do this so there is more resistance in the pedals.

This week all you need to do is get out of the saddle and try a few pedals and sit down again.

Good luck.

Happy cycling!
BikeGal.com

February 28, 2013 00

Here is the user experience of week 2 of the six week program from couch to commuter cyclist. Last night I headed off for another session in the park with Old Burgundy. I had a killer headache and all the excuses in the world seemed to get on the 380 bus with me. But as […]

Here is the user experience of week 2 of the six week program from couch to commuter cyclist.

Last night I headed off for another session in the park with Old Burgundy. I had a killer headache and all the excuses in the world seemed to get on the 380 bus with me. But as I approached my car (Old Burgundy safely stowed in the boot – I had driven up there in the morning and parked my car for the day) I started noticing all the people around me. Centennial Park was full of people running, walking, boot-camping and cycling – all out to enjoy the park and do their body some good. I felt inspired, and part of a community.

BTW I’m not mentioning my complaining/excuses to be a downer, I just don’t want to say ‘Oh, I just went to the park and got on my bike and followed the instructions and was awesome and there were rainbows and rabbits’ because it just wouldn’t be true. I include the rubbishy excuses because they’re a very real part of the experience and I wouldn’t be sharing much if I didn’t include those!

Once on the bike I did a bit of just regular cycling as a warm up, then started on the drills BikeGal had written.

I wear glasses, so the easiest dexterity trick was to push my glasses back up the bridge of my nose. This I accomplished with minimum wobbles, so I practiced indicating first right, and then left – my arm stuck straight out like a bird. For a moment I kinda felt like I was flying and wondered whether I would ever be able to (or want to) ride a bike like Meg Ryan does in City of Angels.

Meg Ryan city of angels

Having got a bit more comfortable with reaching up from the handle bars, I started with reaching down. First I reached down and lightly tapped the cross bar on my bike. It was easier doing it on the right than the left, but as I’m right-handed, this is to be expected I guess.

I found it easier to practice these when I was on the flat, or at a slight downwards slope, and when I was coasting rather than pedalling.

Most of the time I stayed to the left, but staked my claim (and rights to the bikepath) about 1 metre away from the edge – leaving plenty of room for speed demons to fly past.

I built up the courage and reached down to my water bottle. My fingertips tickled the top of the bottle but I couldn’t quite lift it out of the holder. Even empty, weighing virtually nothing, it was a bit beyond my skills at this stage. But I have to leave something for next week, right?

I’m starting to feel more comfortable on the bike and am even considering the short 1km ride on very quiet roads to my gym early on Sat morning. I guess the cycling bug is starting to take hold, even though I only got on my bike once this week (well, the weekend was a bit of a washout with storms ravaging Sydney!) I’m looking for more opportunities to get on my bike.

I’m also heading to the Gear Up Girl event this weekend, which is exciting but a bit nerve-wracking – I hope my skills are up to the task! (Editor’s note – she’s totally up to the task!!)