Commuting Dilemma

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Commuting Dilemma

Postby Dropbear20 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:50 pm

Hi, I've just started commuting to work. I have managed 5 of the last 8 days and really enjoying the ride(s). My trip is 21kms each way. My current ride is an old steel framed bike so it's relatively heavy. I can manage 30km/h+ when I push myself, though I'm averaging 24km/h which I'm happy with for now. I know my road bike would be quicker, but I don't fancy riding with a back pack. But that's not my dilemma.

My dilemma is my wife does not ride. From her point of view the roads are dangerous. Therefore riding on them must be dangerous and I shouldn't commute by bike. Yes my route to the city does have some on road sections though most of the journey is on cycle paths (thank you Clover Moore). And much to my surprise drivers have been or seem to be more courteous/tolerant than I expected, except for the hire car driver yesterday, but that's another story...

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can ease my wife's concerns? Maybe it's time to buy her a bike so she can see for herself?

Thanks.
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by BNA » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:12 pm

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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby Chanboy » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:12 pm

Riding with your cycling inexperienced wife/gf/friend (or bloke/bf/husband - if the other way around) is about patience and confidence. Patience for you and confidence for them. :-)

I commute daily with my gf - we both take the same route till the last klm. I'm more confident riding in traffic and maybe less cautious. She is confident, but some situations can shake her up (like doing a right hand turn off the pacific hwy or owning your lane and not getting bullied by cars following)

For us, it's just been practice and confidence building. I didn't have the issue of getting her started riding, as she was the one who got me into cycle commuting!

I haven't done this - but have heard people say it's not bad: http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/abou ... ourses.asp Might be worth checking out.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby trailgumby » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:43 pm

Hasten slowly. It took me a while to become confident in traffic. And you need to be honest, there are risks.

On balance, though, I think it's less risky than sitting in a smokebox working passively on my obesity and an early demise from a coronary or cancer, or sitting in a bus having everybody cough their flu over me.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby Comedian » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:49 pm

In virtually all surveys of womens attitudes to bike riding and commuting the main reservation is the cars. And who can blame them. :shock:

My missus is riding now but we're careful with the path to avoid a lot of traffic.
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Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby wombatK » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:11 pm

Comedian wrote:In virtually all surveys of womens attitudes to bike riding and commuting the main reservation is the cars. And who can blame them. :shock:

Moi :D Women are born scaredy cats. As you've found, it's not that dangerous but there's practically no way you can prove it to the unbelievers.

Eventually, she'll get comfortable with the idea that you're going to come home in one piece every day. So don't stress about it.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby Rhubarb » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:12 pm

Show her your life insurance policy :)
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby Dropbear20 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:12 pm

Thanks for the responses.

Rhubarb wrote:Show her your life insurance policy :)


hmmm, how did you know? I'm not sure that this would quite get the response I'm looking for, but I do like this one.

wombatK wrote:Eventually, she'll get comfortable with the idea that you're going to come home in one piece every day. So don't stress about it.


Yes, I did notice that she was a bit more relaxed about it today.

Oh well, couple of days rest...school starts on Tuesday and it's our youngest son's first day at a new school so I won't be riding again until Friday.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby Baalzamon » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:50 pm

Get a video camera and film the commute and show her so she can see for herself
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby tenspeed » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:24 pm

Pretty good average km/hr. Sounds as if there are new cycleways that I don't know about! What route do you take from Carlton to the city?
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby ozipom » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:24 am

I've been commuting for the last three years from the Eastern suburbs through to the Sydney CBD. Initally when I said to my wife I was going to commute she wasn't sure about it at all. Similar reasons she gave were the traffic.

So I first did the ride on the weekend. So I could get an idea on the best way to go. As the days/weeks went by she noticed I was getting fitter and was less grumpy :D So she was more than happy with me commuting. She couldn't believe I could beat her to work most days (she catches the bus).

I would also (still do) send her an e-mail each day to let her know I got to work okay. I would usually put a positive spin on my ride e.g. "nice sunny day" as opposed to "this car cut me up". I just need to try and get her to cycle to work now.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby Dropbear20 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:58 pm

tenspeed wrote:Pretty good average km/hr. Sounds as if there are new cycleways that I don't know about! What route do you take from Carlton to the city?


tenspeed, I may have exaggerated the actual distance on cycle paths :oops: . I mapped my commute on bikely and it turns out that the travel on cyclepaths is about 52% It seems a lot more than that. I use Bourke Rd/St - the bits that are open. Oxford Street is my biggest challenge, especially Friday night.

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Da ... Sydney-CBD
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby wombatK » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:21 pm

ozipom wrote:I've been commuting for the last three years from the Eastern suburbs through to the Sydney CBD. Initally when I said to my wife I was going to commute she wasn't sure about it at all. Similar reasons she gave were the traffic.

So I first did the ride on the weekend. So I could get an idea on the best way to go. As the days/weeks went by she noticed I was getting fitter and was less grumpy :D So she was more than happy with me commuting. She couldn't believe I could beat her to work most days (she catches the bus).

I would also (still do) send her an e-mail each day to let her know I got to work okay. I would usually put a positive spin on my ride e.g. "nice sunny day" as opposed to "this car cut me up". I just need to try and get her to cycle to work now.

Good story oziporn. If your missus needs any more encouragement, maybe you could get her to tag-a-long with Christina K's and her police escort (assuming she's still in Parliament after the election ). Now that's gotta be safe 8)
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby DavidS » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:24 pm

Baalzamon wrote:Get a video camera and film the commute and show her so she can see for herself


That may be counterproductive ;)

It can be dangerous on the roads and your partner has some grounds for concern. However, if you are a competent cyclist who can read traffic it is pretty safe, and it gets safer with more experience.

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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby tenspeed » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:41 pm

Dropbear20 wrote:
tenspeed, I may have exaggerated the actual distance on cycle paths . I mapped my commute on bikely and it turns out that the travel on cyclepaths is about 52% It seems a lot more than that. I use Bourke Rd/St - the bits that are open. Oxford Street is my biggest challenge, especially Friday nigh


Thanks for that, Dropbear20. I guess you use Clover Moore's Bourke Road cycleway from Bunnings to Green Square. What do you do after that? The incomplete Bourke Street Cycleway/shared pavement route seems a real mess to me; I ride north from Green Square on the quieter side-streets towards Prince Alfred Park but I see that the Bikely map you suggested steers you off Bourke and onto Crown Street. I can't see any reason to use the Bourke Street Cycleway north of Green Square, it's much easier to keep to the west of this mess and then avoid Oxford Street which as you say is a nightmare.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby wombatK » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:54 pm

Dropbear20 wrote: Oxford Street is my biggest challenge, especially Friday night.

Right about that ! Drop your wallet there, and you'd have to kick it all the way down to Museum station before it'd be safe to bend over to pick it up. :)
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby Dropbear20 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:34 am

tenspeed, I hop onto the road at Green Square and continue along Bourke Street until the cycleway starts again. I think it is around Phillip Street. I have to detour to Crown beause the cycelway is still under construction for a short stretch and the path is usually block, and the road is one way and very narrow. For the moment the traffic is relatively light when I'm on the road. I've thought about taking other streets but I have really looked into it. If the traffic gets too heavy then I will reconsider. Does your route then take you down Elizabeth near Central? I have thought about using that to avoid Oxford, and it takes me past my office, but I was unsure of the traffic.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby DrJay » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:51 am

Dropbear, I probably live just the other side of the highway from you. I'm in Beverley Park.

I commute to the Airport once a week (will be twice soon), going up the back streets of Monterey and Brighton (I'm sure you know the ones) then the paths to Coward St and down O'Riordan back to the domestic terminal.

Depending what part of the city you are heading to, it's also possible to cross back over the Alexandra Canal on Canal Rd, and head up past Sydney Park and into the bottom of Redfern, up George St to Prince Alfred Park at Cleveland St.

I did it just before Christmas to get up to Town Hall area, and it was good. The city traffic was surprisingly easy to navigate too. I don't filter, as I feel it just annoys car drivers and causes them to get aggro, I have to say that most everyone was really polite and easy to get along with.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby fatherofmany » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:25 pm

Dropbear20 wrote: Oxford Street is my biggest challenge, especially Friday night.


I don't know... wouldn't you fit right in, you know, tight lycra and all.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby Dropbear20 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:35 pm

That's my weekend wear, not for everyday :wink:
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby tenspeed » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:19 pm

Dropbear20 wrote: Does your route then take you down Elizabeth near Central? I have thought about using that to avoid Oxford, and it takes me past my office, but I was unsure of the traffic.


Hi Dropbear- like DrJay says if you head north up George, Pitt etc (the quiet Redfern streets not the CBD ones!!!!!) you can ride across Prince Alfred Park and emerge just south of Central without the hassle of negotiating Chalmers, Cleveland, Elizabeth or Oxford streets.

I prefer this to using the finished bits of the Bourke Street Cycleway as it's a much more direct route to the CBD and you don't have to give way at all the gazillion sidestreets.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby Oxford » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:07 pm

Dropbear20 wrote:I have thought about using that to avoid Oxford, and it takes me past my office, but I was unsure of the traffic.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby CommuRider » Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:25 am

I'd echo a couple of suggestions here: 1. Helmet cam 2. Text to say you've arrived safely. The second is quite important as it is very reassuring (and also because it means you're thinking of her!)
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby Mugglechops » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:46 pm

I do the text msg thing to tell my wife I got to work.

She doesn't have much now though, as I sold the second car and the motorbike.
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Re: Commuting Dilemma

Postby Dropbear20 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:46 pm

Mugglechops wrote:I do the text msg thing to tell my wife I got to work.


Thanks, yes this helps. Both when I arrive and when I leave in the evening.

The evening traffic hasn't been too bad lately...must have just been the wrong time on the first Friday night. Mornings are getting a little busy, but still manageable on my current route. I might take up the suggestion of riding away from Bourke and more towards Prince Alfred Park. My only question is how to get from there to the other end of town on Phillip Street? Look's like another weekend scouting trip to the city :D More kms to add to my journal.
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