Location: Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Started bike commuting: Since 1996 (on and off)
Commute distance (one way): 5km at the moment, has been up to 12 km
Describe your commute: Gradual downhill through quiet suburban streets. then onto a busy main street which has very slow traffic due to the amount of pedestrians crossing and traffic lights, so I just keep up with the traffic which is not hard to do, and it keeps me out of the car door death lanes. Then I ride along the footpath for a short distance where it is quite dangerous to be on the road but the paths are nice and wide and empty. Through a park, along a bike track beside a scenic river and I am there. I get to check out the other riders as well as the pelicans on the river on my way, it only takes about 20 minutes and I don’t travel far enough to need a shower. A great start to the day.
Describe your bike and accessories: My old Speedwell is my preferred mode of travel, it is a single speed with back pedal brakes and an old style wire basket on the front, which I simply throw my bag into. I have had it since I was a child and I love the classic loop frame. I also have a Giant hybrid bike with 24 gears and much better brakes than the Speedwell but I prefer the Speedwell if the weather is good. The Giant also has a bag-carrying-rack on the back which is useful. My lights are a variety of blinkies which I can attach to the bikes, bags and my helmet.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Work out which way to ride before you do it the first time. Look at maps and do a weekend trial ride as you will probably find shortcuts you did not know were there for bike riders. Try not to use a back pack as they are hot and uncomfortable, use a pasket or panniers. Work out your clothes and whether you can just ride in work clothes or whether you need to carry an extra set of clothes with you. If there are no showers at work, you can probably do a wash and change in the rest rooms at work. Make sure you have a good lock or can store your bike safely at your workplace. Your co workers will be in awe at your athletic prowess in riding to work, even if you just pedalled a few blocks to get there!