2016 Sydney Rides

Seeing over 20 events in the 2016 Sydney Rides Festival brochure for much of October, my measly take-up doesn’t seem worthy? On the other hand, a lot aren’t so relevant for me: Ride to work? Cyclocross? Bike Polo? Hill climb? etc. Even the Chocolate Ride didn’t drag me in (yes, I couldn’t trust myself) & the timing or proximity for some didn’t fit.

Doing the Brompton Urban Challenge was probably the highlight & our pre-arranged team (Mrs Aussie & myself, along with “master navigator” Mark) was keen. Armed with our guidelines & clue sheet, we/Mark engineered a route around the city & inner surrounds to achieve our tasks over 4 hours or so before we were due at the presentation meet-up area. (team pic courtesy of another Mark?)The delights of getting around the city on mostly car-free routes on our Bromptons was the big reward from the Urban Challenge. (The fact that it was our only reward didn’t matter, honestly! Perhaps our pics lacked a tad craziness? (read “youthful exuberance”?) Maybe next year?) As with all Brompton gatherings, the socialising-time at the presentation area was all too short. The Brompton folding competition, the food trucks, the other bike happenings; all great entertainment. Thanks organisers, thanks participants.

The Sydney Suit Ride sounded quaint; the smartest riders in town, rolling through the city – & followed by a free lunch! As befitting a Ride in a suit, the pace was gentle & the territory was mostly hill-free. About 40 bikes attended, including 4 Bromptons, with quite a mix of commuting choices – & about one third e-bikes! The route was from Surry Hills through to Observatory Hill & return, mostly along cycle ways & paths. The only struggle was getting through all the bicycle traffic lights on the all-too-short greens? Such a shame that the priorities lay with keeping motorists happy, rather than allowing cyclists to flow along? Thanks to BicycleNSW for the great weather/organising/shepherding/food.

Attending the Spring Cycle Ride (along with 8000+ bikes sending their way from North Sydney via the Harbour Bridge to Olympic Park?) was always “a maybe” but while riding in the Olympic Park area a couple of days before, my mind was made up. The Ride preparations were underway, sign-posting to guide riders through the winding cycle paths & suddenly my enthusiasm was for a quiet ride with a sea breeze (& out of the hot part of the day?). Accordingly, we headed to the Northern Beaches & undertook our little “Narrabeen Lagoon loop & Deewhy gelato” adventure; much more relaxing?

My last Rides Festival event wasn’t even a ride, but a train trip to the city for a talk named, “How the Dutch do it” (well, shopping & a long lunch also got fitted in). Cycling in the Netherlands as described by a visiting Urban Planning Professor was quite enlightening. It seems that “Build it & they will come…” wasn’t how things happened, but more like “When systems don’t cope anymore, build it…” (& continue the cycle Ad infinitum?). Amongst the stats I recall figures such as “500,000 bike racks, 600,000 bike journeys” & some quite telling pics of overloaded parking stations? (you know the sort of thing; human nature with a full parking station leads to, “I’m late, that’ll do”?)

I can’t finish this blog post without thanking Ralph-e for such wonderful support for all these rides. I’m sure I can say, “I couldn’t have done it without you”? It’s difficult to express how brilliant my riding has become with this e-bike setup. For now I’m having to re-learn how to deal with hills while also comprehending the e-bike potential. Please keep watching.

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