Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Mary Rose

Cycling in Sydney

Recommended Posts

How do you find cycling in Sydney? I want to buy a bike but I hate cycling on busy roads, and nor do I like cycling on pavements. I used to enjoy riding when I lived at Narrabeen but there were some relatively quiet roads around there. When I moved to Surry Hills, I put my bike in the garage and that is where is stayed. To be honest, I wish now that I had kept riding and developed some quiet routes. I see various places from the train to Penrith that I fancy riding, and I could always take my bike (when I get it) on the train.

 

I guess you just have to adapt to changing circumstances? My friend Nick lives in London and told me he drives out to Essex sometimes, taking his bike with him. I used to see people doing that in the New Forest.

 

I passed a bloke riding his bike down Parramatta Road last Monday, weaving in and out of traffic, past parked vehicles, over nasty intersections, through Burwood and Concord, that area. I used to cycle to Southampton sometimes but there were separate cycleways along Millbrook Road (coming in from the west.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How do you find cycling in Sydney? I want to buy a bike but I hate cycling on busy roads, and nor do I like cycling on pavements. I used to enjoy riding when I lived at Narrabeen but there were some relatively quiet roads around there. When I moved to Surry Hills, I put my bike in the garage and that is where is stayed. To be honest, I wish now that I had kept riding and developed some quiet routes. I see various places from the train to Penrith that I fancy riding, and I could always take my bike (when I get it) on the train.

 

I guess you just have to adapt to changing circumstances? My friend Nick lives in London and told me he drives out to Essex sometimes, taking his bike with him. I used to see people doing that in the New Forest.

 

I passed a bloke riding his bike down Parramatta Road last Monday, weaving in and out of traffic, past parked vehicles, over nasty intersections, through Burwood and Concord, that area. I used to cycle to Southampton sometimes but there were separate cycleways along Millbrook Road (coming in from the west.)

 

I think cycling provision in Sydney is really pretty poor, I'm afraid. I believe (and from what I have seen on business trips it is true) Melbourne and especially Canberra are much better, even Brisbane

 

Sydney topography is against cycling - very hilly in most areas. And the main routes have grown along the ridge lines and tend to have narrow lanes which no one is interested in eating into for biking space.

 

The biggest problem, however, is drivers' attitudes. Unbelievable aggression. You are treated on a bike as if you have no business being on the road at all, cars passing you with inches to spare is a daily occurrence and at least twice a week I get loud verbal abuse. And yes, I know some cyclists are c*cks and give us all a bad name, but some of us try really hard not to cause a problem for other traffic and not to take the mickey with manoevures. We still get harassed though.

 

It's really not very pleasant. From where I live in Wahroonga, going to work in either Chatswood or North Sydney is OK - the Pacific Highway is actually quite a decent bike route, because in the uphill direction the inside lane is subject to frequent lane drops etc which means no one in a car uses it - it acts like an effective crawler lane, which is quite nice to bike in. However, these days I am often going to one of our site offices in Pennant Hills. Pennant Hills Rd is a complete non-starter for bikes. Suicide, I would say. Three narrow, rammed lanes, full of trucks all the time, always busy. The only choices are to use the footpath (which I hate, but if not feeling well I sometimes do it) or to take the back roads which are very up and down. Which is what I usually do.

 

I don't think the Australian (or perhaps it's the NSW or Sydney) way of having bike lanes as completely segregated helps. It means when you are on a road without them, I think you are expected not to be there, hence the abuse/aggressive driving. I would be much happier with a much more widespread, painted lines only type of network as is common in most of Europe. And I think the mandatory helmet law is dreadful - the single worst piece of bike-related legislation. It has completely put people off using bikes for casual journeys around their suburbs, which means almost all the cyclists using the roads are "serious" cyclists in lycra etc. Which I just think makes the "us and them" mentality even more entrenched. A terrible law which has done very little for safety but really damaged the fabric of the way people get around and how they view bikes

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know what the answer is to the car/cycle/pedestrian question! I don't mind sharing the pavement with cyclists, but I don't see why I should give way to them?

 

Every day, walking to the station, before crossing Devonshire Street, which is one-way, I always look the other way for cyclists. One day, I nearly suffered the irony of being hit by a car coming the right way, as I was looking the wrong way for cyclists!

 

When I'm driving, I always try to give cyclists a wide berth, and give way to them, but when they ride at night, without lights and in dark clothing, how am I supposed to see them? If I'm parked at the side of the road, at night, I look over my shoulder and in my mirror for lights. I don't understand why cycle shops don't fit front and back lights as standard (and give away 'tradies' luminous shirts for free!)

 

I starting wearing a helmet when I went back to England in 1996 and I never had a problem wearing one. I know I read somewhere that cycle helmets don't protect you properly? Perhaps that is a problem with the helmet design, if true, not that wearing a helmet is wrong? Why do motorcyclists have to wear helmets (and protective gear if they are sensible?) Some cyclists reach high speeds, 30, 40 KPH, maybe more?

 

I probably should have gone riding in London for a few weeks, before I came out here! I remember standing outside the Strand Palace Hotel one gloomy, dank, December day, watching cyclists weaving amongst the buses and cabs, and thinking 'that's not for me!'

 

I was looking in the window of a bike shop at Fox Studios this evening, wondering what I might get. I just miss going out at the weekends. I was actually on a walk today, up Foveaux to Moore Park Rd, then back down Lang Rd, where I stopped at Fox Studios. Felt a bit stir crazy, sitting in cafes and pubs avoiding the rain. In England, if it rained, I would not normally cycle, but I'd just put my Gore Tex on and still enjoy a walk.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the helmet thing, it's not that they don't work or aren't sensible to use - I would always personally wear one riding off-road or on a city commute, and always did in the UK (where of course they are not mandatory although worryingly they are talking about doing that)

 

However, if I was just nipping down the shops in the "village" for a paper and a coffee, I wouldn't, if I had a choice. Nor if I was nipping 1km up the road to my mate's house. It's this sort of casual, bikes-as-local-transport, use that is discouraged by having mandatory helmet laws IMO. It just becomes too much hassle, so what do people do? They drive.

 

Less bikes on the road, and more cars, means it is then more dangerous still to ride as it's "not the norm", so it puts even more people off. It becomes a vicious cycle IMO and where you end up is where Sydney is now - the only people you see out on bikes on the road are groups of serious cyclists, and/or commuters. These people will ride anyway, because it's a lifestyle to them and they have all the gear. (I'd also say these groups are more likely to behave badly/arrogantly in their riding). And you see families, but you only see them restricted to bike paths in parks, which is all very well but not exactly equipping the adults of tomorrow with bike-riding skills to enable them to use them for transport. Nor instilling in them the belief that bikes are an OK choice as a way of getting around rather than just a leisure activity.

 

We have allowed ourselves to become segregated, to the extent that I think here bikes are seen as a particular lifestyle choice - you're not Joe Bloggs who happens to ride a bike to work, you are the cyclist Joe Bloggs, if you see what I mean. Which I think entrenches people on one "side" or the other. And many drivers are of the belief that bikes should have no place on the road, and behave accordingly, again I think because of the entrenchment.

 

I find it very sad, and I blame mandatory helmet laws for an awful lot of that entrenchment. When I went home in the winter I noticed immediately how many people there were on bikes, everywhere. We stopped with the outlaws in Marlow for a couple of days when we first got there and took a stroll into town - and saw a dozen or more people of all ages using their bikes to get into and around town. And groups of older kids/young teenagers mucking about on bikes, in the way I used to. You just don't see that, at all, ever, in suburban Sydney

 

Perhaps I'm oversensitive to it as I've always ridden bikes and commuted on them when possible (ie when living a sensible distance away). I grew up in Cambridge for a few years so I guess it gets ingrained

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WHEN I get that bike, I will start wearing gloves all year round. In England, I wore them in winter. I always put my 'Sam Browne' luminous belt/straps on, and after seeing the tradie shirts here, I took a couple of them back, plus some luminous socks (which made people laugh when I wore them to work at Royal Mail!)

 

Come to think of it, the closest I came to a serious accident on my bike was back in 1974 when a stick got in my wheel and I stopped dead, or rather my bike did! I went straight over the handlebars and landed on my hands!

 

I don't agree with your 'not bothering with a helmet to nip down the shops' though. Don't most accidents happen close to home!? How long does it take to slip a helmet on? I worked with guys at Royal Mail - serious motorcyclists - who spent ages putting on or taking off their gear, and even if they were just going round the car park, they would put their gear on. (Just remembered admiring a set of gloves one had, between mittens and gloves - sort of 'V' sign - handy for 'signally' to other drivers!

 

I don't care for riding in parks, eg.Centennial Park - reminds me of prisoners in an exercise yard, but I can also see how I could make going through there a safe® part of my route. I was tempted to walk in there yesterday arvo/evening but I wanted to look at the homes along Lang Road.

 

One thing that does irritate me about cyclists is the ones who refuse to use the cycle path when there is one provided. On the other side of Centennial Park, there's a shared path off the road, as there is on Anzac Pde. Along that road past the park, the road keeps narrowing so you can't overtake a cyclist safely. Bourke St, Surry Hills has a proper cycleway now. Clover Moore spent millions on it (much to Alan Jones' rage) and I've seen cyclists on the (much narrower now) vehicle part of the road.

 

On the road from my village in Hampshire, (Marchwood) to the next village (Totton) it's horrible to ride in the rush hour, especially in winter, in the dark or semi-dark, and rain. It should really be upgraded from a lane (Jacob's Gutter Lane - odd name) as there are heaps of container trucks, army convoys, sometimes tank transporters. There is an alternative lane via Pooks Green (another wonderful name) which trucks don't use, but adds a kilometre or so to your journey.

 

I guess Sydney has just too many vehicles, couple with successive Governments who have refused to invest in transport infrastructure. I think the railway is much as it was 80 years ago? If only they had continued the motorways all the way into the city, then some of the busy roads might have become bus and cycleways (to an extent?) And Sydney is just SO spread out! I travel 35 miles to work in Penrith, mostly through built up areas, though there is some bush. I have this YEARNING for some countryside. That bypasss in Marchwood is a HORRIBLE road - the equal of Pennant Hills Road, though with on y two lanes for most of it. It literally cuts the village off from the New Forest. Sometimes I had to give up trying to get across it on a bike, but at least when you do get across, there's some wonderful countryside. with bridleways and public footpaths too (another thing I miss - but not miss enough to want to move back!)

 

PS I must Google Marlow, which can't be too far from Southampton? 'SL' postcode? ("Bombs, bombs, rain on Slough, there's nothing fit for humans now?")

 

Thinking about the road through Marchwood, one thing that rather amused me (as long as I was not driving at that time of day) was that it has become something of a rat run, with so much traffic on the Marchwood bypass, but when the schools were out, all the parents blocked the road parking on both sides. (I remember reading about a village somewhere where they got so sick of being a rat run, they all went out one day and parked their cars on both sides!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The name is recorded in 1015 as Mere lafan, meaning "Land left after the draining of a pond" in Old English.[2]

From Norman times the manor, parish and later borough was formally known as Great Marlow, distinguishing it from Little Marlow. The ancient parish was large, including rural areas north and west of the town. In 1896 the civil parish of Great Marlow, created in the 19th century from the ancient parish, was divided into Great Marlow Urban District (the town) and Great Marlow civil parish (the rural areas). In 1897 the urban district was renamed Marlow Urban District,[3] and the town has been known simply as Marlow.

History[edit]

Further information: History of Buckinghamshire

220px-Marlowmap1945.jpg

magnify-clip.png

A map of Marlow from 1945

Marlow is recorded in the Domesday Book as Merlaue.[4]

Magna Britannia includes the following entry for Marlow: "The manor of Marlow, which had belonged to the Earls of Mercia, was given by William the Conqueror, to his Queen Matilda. Henry the First, bestowed it on his natural son, Robert de Melhent, afterwards Earl of Gloucester, from whom it passed, with that title, to the Clares and Despencers, and from the latter, by female heirs, to the Beauchamps and Nevilles, Earls of Warwick. It continued in the crown from the time of Richard III's marriage with Anne Neville, until Queen Mary granted it to William Lord Paget, in whose family it continued more than a century; after which, it passed, by purchase, to Sir Humphrey Winch, in 1670; to Lord Falkland in 1686; to Sir James Etheridge in 1690; to Sir John Guise in 1718; and to Sir William Clayton in 1736. It is now the property of Sir William Clayton bart. a descendant of the last purchaser".[5]

Marlow owed its importance to its location on the River Thames, where the road from Reading to High Wycombe crosses the river. It had its own market by 1227 (hence the name Chipping Marlow), although the market lapsed before 1600. From 1301 to 1307 the town had its own Member of Parliament, and it returned two members from 1624 to 1867.[3]

Geography[edit]

Marlow is adjoined by Marlow Bottom, a mile to the north. Little Marlow is nearby to the east along the A4155 Little Marlow Road and Bourne End is further along the same road. To the south across the Thames are Bisham (home of Bisham Abbey) and Cookham Dean, both in Berkshire,

Landmarks[edit]

There has been a bridge over the Thames at Marlow since the reign of King Edward III[citation needed] The current bridge is a suspension bridge, designed by William Tierney Clark in 1832, and was a prototype for the nearly identical but larger Széchenyi Chain Bridge across the River Danube in Budapest[citation needed]

220px-Royal_Military_College_Great_Marlow%2C_1810.jpg

magnify-clip.png

Royal Military College, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, 1810

The Junior Wing of the Royal Military College, now based at Sandhurst on the border between Berkshire and Surrey, was once based at Remnantz in West Street - it was a mansion built in the early 18th century and served as the junior section of the college from 1801 until 1812.[6] The weather vane on the building features a man firing a cannon, which possibly dates from that period.[citation needed] The building is now owned by the Bosley family.

The Hand & Flowers, the first gastropub to hold two Michelin stars is located on West Street.[7] Like many local pubs, it serves the award-winning beers brewed locally in Marlow Bottom by the Rebellion Beer Company

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing that does irritate me about cyclists is the ones who refuse to use the cycle path when there is one provided. On the other side of Centennial Park, there's a shared path off the road, as there is on Anzac Pde. Along that road past the park, the road keeps narrowing so you can't overtake a cyclist safely. Bourke St, Surry Hills has a proper cycleway now. Clover Moore spent millions on it (much to Alan Jones' rage) and I've seen cyclists on the (much narrower now) vehicle part of the road.

 

I fully agree with this, my main road into work used to be a wide 2 lane road, there are very few pedestrians but a fair few cyclists. The council decided to widen the pavements to make a shared cycle/pedestrian path which seemed like a sensible idea at the time. The trouble is, I hardly ever see a cyclist using the very expensive cycle path as they all still insist on using he now very narrow road where there is now no chance of overtaking.

 

Of course if you get stuck behind the bin lorry now then that's it, you are stuck. And what's it all for, it's to provide a cycle path that apparently cyclists don't want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.