Amsterdam: Cycling Heaven – 5 reasons why

Geelong moved a step closer to becoming a leading cycling city with the opening of the first stage of the Malop Street Green Spine last week.  There is now a one-way cycleway westwards from Yarra Street to Moorabool Street.  As funding becomes available, it is planned to extend this further along Malop Street.  City of Geelong is to be congratulated for this step towards making the Geelong CBD more people-friendly.  (Unfortunately, at least for the present, if you’re travelling eastwards, you still need to use the old bike lane with the hazards of fast-moving motor vehicles, and opening car doors.)

Amsterdam has one of the highest rates of cycling for transport in the world.  It wasn’t always so!  I recommend you read In the City of Bikes:  The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist by Pete Jordan (available at the Geelong Regional Library) to find out how Amsterdam transformed itself into a cycling Mecca. 

This is despite the fact that for much of the year, Amsterdam has an unfriendly climate for cycling.

Making a city where most trips are done on bikes requires utterly discarding conventional car-centric ways of thinking about transportation. Norman Garrick

With Geelong’s easy terrain, wonderful climate and the beginning of the Principal Bicycle Network, we’d love to see Geelong transformed to a place where cycling is the norm.

Five reasons why Amsterdam works so well for bikes

For more, here is an article on the five reasons why Amsterdam works so well for bikes.  Underlying all this is designing transport for people rather than cars.  In a city with a greater urban area population of 1.8 million people, traffic deaths are 2/100,000 of population.  Australia’s rate of traffic fatalities is close to triple this.

Look at any photo of people cycling in Amsterdam.  You’ll see  mixture of male and female, ages and many assorted bicycles.  One measure of how well our infrastructure makes cycling safe is the percentage of females riding bikes.

Cycling in Amsterdam. People go about their daily lives using bikes for transport. Low speeds and good infrastructure mean that cycling is safe for all. Image from http://www.local-life.com/amsterdam/articles/cycling-in-amsterdam

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Barwon River Circuit: Saturday 21st October, 2017

There were at least 24 cyclists on this morning’s overcast ride around the river.  It was great to see people from far and wide, including Kelly and Karen commuting from Corio via the Ted Wilson Trail (and conquering Hyland Street on the return journey).

The riders were met by Tina and Gavin at the Breakwater (though Tina’s was a social visit only, due to family commitments), and president John (who’d been chasing the ride) at Queens Park.  Nancy and Heather also joined the group for coffee at Barwon Edge.

The river was reasonably quiet, but this morning’s ride was marred by the aggressive comments and behaviour of one jogger, and a bit of a problem with a couple of out of control dogs in the leash free area.  The Barwon River trail is a shared path.  Cycling Geelong’s riders kept their good temper, and unfailing politeness.  After all, everyone is out on the path for recreation and enjoyment – whether,  pushing pedals or a pram, jogging, or being taken for a walk by their canine friends.

All path users should keep to the left of the path.  Cyclists are required to give way to pedestrians.  However, it is also the responsibility of all path users, including pedestrians, not to block the path, and to control dogs whether in on-leash or off-leash areas.

Elections: Have you asked your local candidates if they’re committed to sustainable transport?

The City of Geelong’s long awaited elections are now in progress.  Your votes need to be posted by next Friday, October 27th.

As cyclists, we know you’re committed to safe cycling and improved cycling facilities.  When making your voting decisions, consider asking your local candidates about their commitment to cycling.

Ask targeted questions like:

  • Do you ride a bike?/When was the last time you rode one?  (We know, for example, that Mik Aidt, a candidate in Brownbill, rides a cargo bike in his election campaigning.)
  • How would you improve cycling facilities (add the name of the area where you live) … e.g. Drysdale, City Centre, Bellarine Rail Trail?
  • Are you aware of the Principal Bicycle Network?  How committed are you to ensuring that this becomes reality?  To which routes would you give priority?
  • What are your priorities for improving cycling safety throughout Geelong?
  • How would you improve safe cycling routes to … (name the school where your children attend)?

You can find contact details for all candidates on the Electoral Commission website.

Do your homework to find the very best council to promote Geelong as a SAFE CYCLING CITY.

Danish Cyclists visit to Geelong – Cycling Without Age

Multi-cultural Aged Care, North Geelong

Monday 9th October, 2017

Six young Danish cyclists are spending a short time in Geelong, as they tour eastern Australia riding passenger tricycles, and promoting Cycling Without Age.  This morning, they visited macs (Multi-cultural Aged Care) in Weddell Parade, North Geelong.

Residents, their family members and staff had the opportunity to take a ride.  Vicki, Rosemary and Helen, from Cycling Geelong all had the opportunity to try out the bikes – which have electric power assist (not used on today’s rides).

Once people got into the passenger seat, it was smiles all around, with reminiscences flowing about the last time they were able to be on a bike, and general excitement.

Despite the cold south-westerly wind, everyone had a great time.  Once up and running, with two new tricycles, the residents and cycling pilots will be able to explore Geelong, with the first route to the waterfront already mapped out.

Cycling Geelong is a partner with Cycling Without Age, Geelong Sustainability and macs (Multi-Cultural Aged Care)  in Geelong’s first Cycling Without Age chapter.

We’ve already started recruiting cycling pilots.  If you’re interested, contact Vicki or Helen.

Humans in Geelong Expo, Sunday, 8th October, 2017

Humans in Geelong began in August 2016 ago as a Face Book page telling good news stories about people and organisations making a difference to the Geelong Community.   This year, Humans in Geelong ran a most successful EXPO at Deakin University Waterfront Campus.

Cycling Geelong was one of over forty groups represented.  Rod Charles, Mike Currie and I ran the table with photos, giveaways and lots of interest from the many hundreds of visitors to the EXPO.   As well as cycling in general, Rod had his three volume history of cycling in the Geelong region on display.  He was surprised that one visitor is planning to buy a penny farthing – Rod’s comment was that they had gone out of date by the 1880s.  However there is now a lot of interest in historic bikes, and the Victorian Penny Farthing Championships will be held at Geelong West Velodrome in early December.

Helen & Rod at Humans in Geelong Expo – a lull in customers

Several other Cycling Geelong members including Vicki and Rosemary were also working on the EXPO – Vicki with Geelong Sustainability and Rosemary with the Humans in Geelong Committee.  Quite a few Cycling Geelong members visited the Expo – some after completing their stint working on Around the Bay in a Day.  We also had a visit from Maria from 94.7 The Pulse’s The Bicycle Show.

Another Cycling Geelong visitor was Tina, who came along with her mother.  They were delighted to meet up with six young Danish guys on a gap year between school and university, who were spending that time promoting Cycling Without Age.  These men rode in on two passenger tricycles, which they had ridden all the way from Newcastle to Geelong via Sydney, Dubbo, Canberra and Bendigo (which all have Cycling Without Age programs running).  People at the EXPO were invited to have a ride on the bikes – Tina and her mum are looking forward to the program starting in Geelong.

The Expo included a program of performers, speakers and other entertainment.  The winners of the first ever Humans in Geelong Writing Competition for schools were announced.  The primary school winner was Hamish West, , Year 3, Ashby Primary School, with runner up Indigo Niblett, Year 6, Clairvaux Primary School.  The secondary school section was won by Bridie Griffith who is in year 7 with year 8 student Archer Drummond second.  Both these students attend The Geelong College.

* For Cycling Without Age, the passengers do not require helmets.  The demonstrations were held in Deakin’s enclosed courtyard.  Normally, the riding tricycle pilots always wear helmets.

It is also legal in Victoria to ride these passenger tricycles on footpaths – speeds with passengers are usually around 3-6kph.  Geelong’s first Cycling Without Age program will be at Multi-cultural Aged Care in North Geelong and is expected to get underway early in 2018.

How the Netherlands reclaimed their country from the internal combustion dragon

Just like Australia, the Netherlands had a culture of cycling for transport after World War II.  Just like Australia, as prosperity increased, cars took over.  Traffic accidents increased.  Look what happened next…


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/29401217″>Cycling For Everyone</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/dutchcycling”>Dutch Cycling Embassy</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>