Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ride to Work Day at MQ

We had our second ride to work day breakfast at Macquarie Uni yesterday. The event seemed a bit smaller than last year that could have been due to the weather. I think Ride 2 Work is an important event but I'm starting to question how helpful it is in encouraging new cyclists. When I spoke to riders at the breakfast yesterday, almost everyone was already 'converted' to the cause. In this sense the event just served as a recognition or reward for continuing the activity. However, for critical perspectives on Ride to Work events, check out this article.

My sense is that new and potential cyclists need a lot more social support to start riding with the development of basic skills and confidence. Many people experience cycling as difficult for the first few weeks and will walk up hills, have a sore backsides and ride on the footpath when intimidated by cars. Single events without preparation can just confirm a false perception of cycling as hard and/or dangerous. In regards to the whole BikeEd thing, I recently learned about a new program to develop bicycle education called AustCycle:

Research carried out by AustCycle founders suggested that the Australian community was missing out on quality learning opportunities in cycling, other than in scattered pockets where committed trainers had worked very hard to meet a demand for cycling advice and experience.

As a result of limited opportunities, the level of ‘cycle-craft’ in society, that was once nearly universal, has narrowed such that cycling proficiency in 2008 is limited to a small proportion of the population.
I love the concept of promoting 'cycle-craft'.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Reflected my experience yesterday of only a few new riders being involved.
Breakfasts are relatively easy to organise though and I think that the rewarding existing cyclists aspect of them is very useful. It is also good for cyclists to chat to people they may only see at red lights.