Through the eyes of this pandemic and being restricted at home, many people have identified the more important things in life and often they are the simple things. Without ignoring the horrors of what the world has seen, there are many positives including more time with family; and recognising the importance of keeping connected, active and healthy.
Around our local area in Sydney, we have seen couples riding together, families riding, kids outside having fun on bikes, and of course many fewer cars on the road. We are sure that fewer cars has encouraged more people to get that bike out from the garage to keep the legs moving and ride more often.
This has translated to increased demand for new bikes and servicing at many stores. Servicing that old bike just to be able to keep moving or to get to work on empty roads safely: everyday bikes, old bikes, kids bikes, tubes and chains and brakes.
MC isn’t at the medical front-line, but we have been essential in keeping many people moving, active and most importantly sane. Our business has been privileged to have been able to remain open and able to provide safe access to our workshop and for our team. But we are super proud of our team at MC which has been working tirelessly to keep you and our local suburbs rolling.
Chapeau - James, Ash, Jamal, Shauny, Dave, Clint & Rob!
Our passionate riding community has continued to keep legs rolling on trainers, or on the road as solo or in pairs. Pairs have formed and swapped, maintaining the contact and friendship and solidarity across the MC Velo community.
But there is no doubt that we are better together and as restrictions on our big island and in Sydney have started to ease, riding groups are returning (limited by number). MC is following recommendations from Cycling Australia by limiting groups to no more than 8 riders with spacing. We will continue to adapt as relaxation guidelines continue to evolve.
A new golden era for cycling?
We have been thinking a lot about what the future will look like? Will people stay active? Will families keep moving together? Will more people commute to work by bike (avoiding public transport and car expense)?
We hope the answer to these questions is yes and the positive signs are there.
Public transport is significantly reduced at the moment and with distancing measures in place and public health concerns, commuting by bike is a practical and healthy alternative.
Transport is high on the agenda of many governments around the world. France is accelerating bike infrastructure in its cities. The UK recognises that cars will increase unless cycling is promoted as a meaningful alternative, with proposals under consideration including pop-up bike lanes, removal of VAT on bike sales, e-bikes, and bike repairs.
Closer to home, Melbourne has pop-up bike lanes where cars were, and Sydney has announced 10kms of temporary cycle links to the CBD.
“The rapid roll-out of key connections in our cycleway network will improve safety for people riding to the city centre, school and health facilities, and reduce crowding on public transport," said Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney.
So the upshot is that as people start returning to offices, we expect more people to cycle as a form of regular transport, to avoid congested and slow public transport, to maintain activity levels, and take advantage of the (hopefully not temporary) bike lanes.
So here are some tips as you may be starting to think about commuting by bike..especially as Sydney heads into winter:
- Comfortable and warm clothing. You don’t need to get sweaty commuting by bike, especially if using the increasingly popular e-bike. But you will want to stay warm. Think about a wind-proof and water-proof jacket that you can unzip to allow some cool air in when you do warm up while moving.
- Ensure you stay visible. Don’t wear black - wear some reflective clothing so you can be seen by others, standing out for cars. And ensure you have lights on front and rear - these not only help you see, but also be seen.
- Carry tools and spares and know how to use them. You will certainly want a spare tube and tools to replace that and pump at an absolute minimum.
- Know where you will store your bike while at work. Your employer may have end-of-trip facilities for you to keep your bike, and also possible shower facilities. Depending on your options near work, you may also need to think about chain and lock to keep your bike safe.
- Wardrobe at work. If you do plan to change at work, think about taking enough clothes with you on Monday, and bring them home Friday. This will mean you aren't riding each day with fresh clothes making the trip that much easier and reducing the chance of forgetting something you might need!
- Plan your route. Know where you are going so you don’t get lost and avoid the need to get your phone out. You may want to ride to the office before you are relying on it time-wise so you remove the potential stress.
There is a great opportunity for organisations and employers to implement better options for their people as they begin to think about a return to work/office, employee welfare and to encourage wellness. While many will adapt to cycling to work for fitness reasons, e-bikes present new options to include many more people in cycling transport.
We are excited by the cycling activity we have seen. And by what might happen for cycling and transport as people thinking about transport and health and keeping fit. If you are looking for bike options to commute or tips and tricks, drop in and see us at MC.