Tuesday 22 October 2013

Ride to Work Day 2013

Last Wednesday was National Ride to Work Day. Organised by Bicycle Network, the idea is to encourage people who have never tried it before to give commuting to work by bike a go. The weather was perfect for a bike ride and judging by the huge number of cyclists riding, this year's Ride to Work Day was a huge success. I guess that's part of the appeal of ride to work day. Safety in numbers for those attempting it for the first time!

Then there's the community breakfasts which are a fantastic celebration of cycling to work and give an extra incentive for those trying to commute for the first time. Community breakfasts are held all across Melbourne and are organised by local community groups like councils, bicycle user groups, bicycle stores and sports groups.

This year I managed to make it to three community breakfasts!

The first was on my usual route to work at the corner of St Georges Road and Merri Parade in Northcote. For a number of years now Darebin City Council have organised a community breakfast at this location and this was the best one yet.

There was free danishes, croissants and coffee....

....free fruit...

....and free smoothies blended by pedal power!

There were also mechanics on hand from one of the local bicycle stores to perform a free bike safety inspection.

Plus the setting was amongst palm trees in a park. Hard to beat!

Next I took the Capital City Trail across to Nicholson Street in Brunswick where Velo Cycles were hosting a community breakfast. I was quite full from all the food I had in Northcote so I didn't try anything but this was another popular event.

I noticed a recently installed bike counter just outside the store. It keeps a daily and yearly count and its facing the traffic on Nicholson Street. It was just before 8am and already almost 700 cyclists had passed through. Amazing numbers! It really is a brilliant idea to advertise the popularity of cycling.

Next I rode down the wide on road bike lane of Rathdowne Street and then onto the separated lane on Swanston Street to make it to the main CBD breakfast, held for the first time at City Square.

As usual this was the most popular event although it felt like there was less cyclists than previous years when it was held in Federation Square. As the other community breakfasts have grown in popularity less riders have come to the CBD event.

There was still enough cyclists attending that finding parking was a problem!

For breakfast there were fruit buns provided by Bakers Delight plus lots of bananas and yoghurt.

The Victoria Police tent where you can get your bike etched with an identifier number in case it gets stolen was as popular as ever.

Melbourne City Council were giving away reflector bands and there were also prize giveaways. It was the usual festive atmosphere and there were a lot of happy cyclists about.

So that was my National Ride to Work Day experience. A great morning in Melbourne and, just like any other day really, it was a great day to ride to work!

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