Since taking an office in the centre of Newcastle, I have ridden my bike more days than I have driven my car.
The reasons for this are simple – no parking fees, cheaper or zero cost to run, fitness and it is a great way to start the day. There are also the environmental benefits of cycling.
Reading an article today about how far behind Australian cities are on bike planning made me think about what makes it easy for me to commute on a bike. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-30/australia-plays-catch-up-modern-urban-planning-bike-lanes/5488538)
My ride is reasonably flat and at times quite scenic. In that sense it is an easy ride.
Most of my ride is on bike paths, however, there are some scary stretches along busy roads. All I can say is that I was not afraid to deck my bike out with flashing lights and a rear vision mirror to aid in safety. That will not protect me from a P-plater who is texting, but all I can do is lower the risk as best I can.
Risk can only be truly minimised by separating bikes from vehicles. Newcastle has some reasonable or even great bike paths, but there is a strong argument for some more direct paths from the suburbs to the centre.
We also have some great paths that take you to nowhere in the sense that they spit you out onto a busy road, often without any bike lane. Ever come streaming off the Adamstown end of the Fernleigh Track and wondered, where to from here?
The other key issue for me is that I have good facilities here in the office, a shower and somewhere to safely store my bike. Not having these would be a major impediment to riding, especially in warmer months.
One final thing, I love riding! Ever since I was kid I have loved riding. And riding as an adult makes me feel like a kid at times. When I ride past a long queue of cars, I smile like a kid. When the early morning sun shines and my wheels are running smooth, I smile like a kid. Riding to work, gotta love it!