Melbourne sans car #6: Commuting by bicycle

Want to join a club where you get fit, meet new people, and help the environment? Where you can spend time exploring Melbourne and enjoying the scenery? Where you will feel a part of a growing community? But this club is different: there are no membership fees, no forms to sign, no numbers to ring. The club I’m talking about is the growing number of people chosing to cycle to work at least one day a week, and those who already ride to work will know that its hard not to feel a part of something at peak times along the major routes, amongst the two wheel commuters.

If you are looking to give cycling to work a try, and just need an extra bit of motivation, tomorrow (Wednesday, October 15) is National Ride to Work Day. This day is all about encouraging new starters to give cycling to work a try, as well as a celebration of what it means to choose a human powered active form of transport, for everyone who cycles. If its your first go at it, you won’t be alone. There will be many others trying cycle commuting for the first time throughout Australia on the same day. It may be that you’ve tried it before and want to get back into it. Its the perfect day for that. There are many community breakfasts being held across Australia tomorrow morning to give you a nice tasty reward for your cycle in. The biggest community breakfast in Melbourne is held at Federation Square in the CBD. For other options, check out the list of Community breakfasts being held around Victoria.

Ride To Work

So what else do you need to know to ride to work? There are a lot of resources around to answer this question.

Bicycle Victoria produces a brochure that answers the common questions about commuting to work on a bicycle.

Ask people at your workplace what bicycle facilities exist, such as a bike cage, bike racks, shower or change rooms.

Refer to a good refedex, VicRoads maps and interactive map, Bikely and google maps street view for good cycle routes.

Some people are lucky enough to be able to follow cycling routes through parks and waterways, which make the ride to and from work very special indeed.

My commute is through the CBD during peak time, which sounds like a terrible ride. However, for me its a chance to see Melbourne’s beautiful buildings, and I find something new every day. Cycling gives you the ability to slow down each day and see the beauty all around. You can look straight up to the top of the tall buildings to see the blue sky and whispy clouds (you can’t do this in a car or tram)… admire the light reflections… the trees changing colour during Autumn. You can steal moments of time like this whenever the light just turns red and you have stopped.

If you haven’t cycled to work before and you are trying out a route you are unfamiliar with, take along a refedex or map, and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there so you don’t have to rush and can find your way.

If you do have any troubles on the day (or any other day for that matter), such as a puncture or other bike woes, or you want directions, feel free to ask other cyclists for assistance. We are a friendly lot who don’t mind helping out.

The forecast for tomorrow so far predicts a shower or two in the morning, so bring your raincoat and waterproof pants if you have them, just in case (or a change of clothes if you don’t).

If you have any other tips, queries about cycling to work, or stories to share about Melbourne sans car, please add to the comments.

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This post is the sixth in a series of posts about Melbourne sans car.
1. Benefits of not owning a motor vehicle
2. Getting some wheels… Bicycle wheels
3. Bicycling Melbourne safely
4. Keeping your bicycle yours (anti-theft)
5. Shopping by bicycle
6. Commuting by bicycle
7. Maintaining your bicycle
8. Exploring Melbourne by bicycle

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