One of the first aspects of the city of Brisbane that caught my attention was the amount of bike lanes and people riding bikes around the city. I saw different groups of cyclists training, people commuting, and parents riding with their kids, and it seemed like they were having great and safe rides! I was mesmerized by the amount of people riding around the city, so I thought it would be a good idea to chat with a few cyclists and learn and share with you more about this cycling culture in Brisbane.
So, on Saturday morning I stopped at a bike shop with a cozy café inside, the Crankstar Bespoke Cyclery, where cyclists head to hang out after their ride. By the way, we need more bike-café shops in Hawaii! What a great concept, right?
I spotted two guys in their bike kits so I approached them and asked if I could ask a few questions, and they kindly said: “Sure!”
Thank you Brett and Anthony for sharing some thoughts about cycling in Brisbane.
How large is the cycling community in Brisbane?
Brett: It’s getting bigger; I would say around 6000 riders. They are novices, and weekend cyclists.
Do you think it is safe to ride in Brisbane?
Anthony: Oh, absolutely! I am from Sidney originally, and it is much safer to ride here than Sydney. Sydney does not have that many bike lanes and bike paths compared to Brisbane. In Brisbane, there is pretty much a bike path around the whole city, and it has been improving a lot.
B: The roads here are much quieter, less cars and less population too. It is more pleasant to ride in Brisbane than it is in Sydney. We still get those (unsafe) “moments”, but it’s still nicer to ride here.
How is the relationship between cyclists and drivers?
B: Still pretty bad! And there are a lot of sensationalist publications and media about the cyclists and drivers. The news and papers sometimes try to create a drama, saying that there are accidents between cyclists and drivers happening every week, but that is not true. They are just trying to create stories.
Is it bad from the driver’s side or cyclist’s side?
B: It’s bad on both sides. You have cyclists that ride through red lights, and you have drivers with bad attitudes. Not one is more responsible than the other.
A: For me personally, I am not going to go for a ride in the middle of the day, or when the whole of Brisbane is probably on the rode driving. I choose to ride in the morning and in places where there is not too much traffic. So, you can avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations too.
What do you think about the bike infrastructure in Brisbane?
B: I think the road infrastructure in Brisbane is pretty poor for cars, so what they have done is they have improved the bicycle infrastructure. There are no places to park cars here, so they are investing in ways to promote people riding their bikes to work like the CityCyle and building more bike paths. And in the past three years the infrastructure has improved dramatically.
A: Also, there are free workshops or tool stands with basic bike tools and pumps around the city. Even vending machines. Instead of buying a coke in a vending machine, you can buy bike tubes, gloves, or anything you need in case of an emergency. Of course you cannot buy a bike kit (laughs).
Why is that?
B: More cyclists, and more people buying bikes.
A: Like this bike café gets busy! Two years ago this shop was in the suburbs, and it was tiny. Now it grew and this café gets pretty busy during the weekends.
Which is the most popular bike route to train?
B: The river loop! It is a 42km loop.
A: If you work in the city you can start the ride pretty much from anywhere. It’s convenient, relatively flat, and also there is hardly any traffic. It’s all back roads in the suburbs.
Do you also use your bike to commute?
B: I do!
A: Me not so much. It’s hard with my work schedule.
Every Aussie triathlete that I have met loves to hang out in coffee shops. Is that right for cyclists in Brisbane too?
A: I think it’s a culture! A lot people, this is my opinion, go out for a cycle to end up at a café.
B: Yeah! Coffee shop racer! (laughs)
A: They do their 30-40k ride, but knowing that in the end we are going for a coffee. And that’s the most important thing; the coffee, the look of the kits, and to show off bikes.
B: I can’t justify the bike I ride. I can barely afford it. I just bought a custom made bike. (laughs).
This is my first time in Australia, and I have noticed how free spirited Aussies are!
B: Yes! We are very laid back. We make time for stuff like this.
A: We are friendly and accommodating.
Yes you are! Cheers!
some dreams are worth sharing…