I recently visited a friend who does not cycle to work but is very well placed to do so. She lives in a housing complex which is very well serviced with cycleways, there is a separated cycleway which goes almost straight to her work beside a river, the ride would take beween 30 and 40 minutes if taken at a leisurely pace (I would estimate), and there is ample bike storage space in her covered and secure car parking area. Perfect for bike commuting! So I tried to convince her to get a bike and ride to work. Some of the arguments she to resist were that:
- she is not a confident rider. To which I replied that she just needs to practise a little, riding to work would soon make her more confident and she has a safe environment to learn in.
- she does not have a bike. To which I replied that she could get one quite cheaply which would pay for itself quite quickly in the savings made by not driving. She then remembered that she has an old bike in her parents’ garage (and it is a Speedwell!)
- dressing for her corporate job would be a hassle when bike riding. To which I replied that is not the case, she could wear a skirt or pants or heels quite comfortably, and when she looked at my skirt and tights she agreed (though I do not wear heels).
- even though she has done the Bike NSW women’s riding training day she is still not sure of her rights on the road, though she did concede that to ride the distances in the training course was not hard at all.
- she knows nothing about bike repair. To which I said she could get puncture proof tyres, learn a few basics and get to know where the local bike shops are.
Reading through the above makes me sound like a sanctimonious cycling upstart, I was not like that in my conversation with her (I hope) and ultimately she agreed to give it a go and wants me to visit again and take my bike and accompany her around the local cycleways so she can get more comfortable with riding and then progress to riding to work. I really hope I have helped her along this road of becoming a bike rider.