Cycling San Francisco style

November 9, 2012 at 08:16 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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I am currently in the San Francisco, and whilst I’ve unfortunately been too busy to do any cycling I have been impressed with the number of cyclists, and also the facilities for them.

People so often say that Sydney is ‘too hilly, too spread out and too hot’ for cycling to be a mainstream form of travel. Well, as far as I can see SF is also all of those things – but there’s a lot of people riding. The mixture of riders in the city is also interesting; a real blend of hard-core road riders on sports bikes, lycra and helmets and more casual, elegantly dressed cyclists on upright bikes. The split is about 50:50 – whereas in Sydney I’d say it’s more 80:20. This being California, there are also a lot of hipster fixie riders. I wonder what gearing they use to get about, given all the steep hills.

What impressed me most was the train, though. There is a whole carriage just for bikes, and each station on the line has bike facilities, lockers, covered bike racks and so on. Many of the buses serving the stations have bike racks on the front too. This is really multi-mode travel done well. If we had something like this on Sydney CityRail, I have no doubt it would be well used. But it seems O’Farrell would rather build more motorways instead. When will our politicians (Clover Moore excepted) wake up to what the rest of the world has already worked out? Providing for bicycles in urban environments is a cheap, efficient way to move people around. And it gets them fit and saves the environment too.

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