to me one of the simple joys of life is getting around on a bike. there’s no doubt that getting about on a bike gives you a unique perspective on your city. there’s no way to experience a city like you do when you’re cycling. only on a bike can you get through those dead-end streets, through to the bike track, over a field onto a road and onward. you can link passages that no-one else can and in doing so you go places no-one else goes.
cars are too unwieldy and spend most of their time passing by and never actually experiencing.
walking is just too slow. you dont walk from labrador to surfers unless you’re the crazy walkie lady.
on a bike you’re out among the events and the environment in which you live. many a time passing through the southport broadwater park i’ve stopped for some event, a band or film, that would have gone unnoticed if i wasnt cycling. passing through macintosh island park i keep tabs on the baby peacocks and mark their growth. in surfers some idiot nearly runs me off the road and i get abuse him with profanities. good fun.
you can’t really experience your city unless you’re on a bike. you’ll never get to see or participate in all the many things going on around you unless you know about them in advance and the end point of your journey is that event or experience. a bike offers you a chance to belong to you city like no-one else can. i’ve been on the gold coast for 12 years but melbourne is my city because that’s where i grew up and where i spend my formative years. when i return to that city now i have an almost overwhelming urge to experience it by bicycle because to me it belongs to me as a cyclist and as a pedestrian i’m merely a visitor returning. i’m upset when my secret shortcut through seedy back lane or industry area has been removed by gentrification or housing and office developments. but i’m excited to try and discover new shortcuts, bike lanes, links and journeys. exploration is at the heart of creative cycling and you have to be inquisitive or you’ll never get beyond the boring main routes.
this brings us to the techniques of commuting. a good commuting cyclist is like a good london cabby. he carries in his brain a map formed of countless rides linking all the different routes together. a cyclist delves deeper though because he makes connections a car cannot. commuting by bike is a creative experience as you link road, to car park, to road, to footy field, onto cycle parth, laneway, dirt strip behind houses, another road, quick jaunt through norm rix oval and home. etc. you can change the journey as fits your mood and the time of day, wind and heat conditions, or prevalence of magpies. you can change you commute merely from whimsy and as an expression of your creativity. you can glimpse a new possibility, a sneaky backstreet or previously unnoticed laneway, investigate and add it to the map in your mind. i cant imagine getting on a bike and riding up and down the main routes. it defeats the point of cycling, and that’s why i’m espousing creative commuting.