Bunch of cyclists reflected in a car side mirror. Photo: Eddie Barkla
Wednesday was National Ride to Work Day an annual event, a continuing commitment of Bicycle Victoria’s vision and motto of “More People Cycling More Often”. The City of Greater Bendigo hosted a breakfast in the Civic Gardens as their contribution and encouragement for Bendigo commuting cyclists.
For some it may well has been a part of the normal riding experience. For others it can be new step onto endless horizons of future experiences and the joys of being a commuter, recreational cyclist. Some have learnt to dream and see visions of the future potential of being a cyclists and the other open and ready to try.
I have a dream and vision for this great cycling region some of which I can share. Can you imagine a community that has adopted cycling as part of its culture of health and well being? It well recognised and documented that cycling is beneficial in reducing obesity and the risk of diabetes for all age groups.
There is a huge push to encourage parents to get their children on bike to ride to school, and Bicycle Victoria have a wonderful program Ride2School offering teaching for cycling skills to assist in this being fulfilled.
Cycling is also a great way of dealing with depression particularly for men as they can be around other men in close camaraderie. Part of the vision and dream contains the following changes of thinking for all stakeholders.
Can we foresee the day when all new buildings having provision for bike parking, locker and shower facilities part of building regulations? Wouldn’t it be great if all the new school buildings could embrace a cycling culture in their infra structure for teachers and students alike having adequate storage facilities for bikes and helmets?
Will there come a time when bike lanes and path infrastructure would no longer be a need for consideration that cycling is an accepted practice and mode of transport and the road is shared accordingly? Instead of the infra structure there could be an emphasis on skills training for people encouraging their cycling confidence. Employers could recognise the overall health and well being for employees and reduction absenteeism and give support to get more people commuting more often. The return in healthier employees could promote incentives such as memberships to clubs or organisations that give insurance coverage that is sadly lacking for cyclist.
Bike shops showing their appreciation of sales increase by conducting bike related activities as part of their overall service in a more formal role than exists now. Basic maintenance, tyre changing and safety checks and skills training all part of the service offered.
Local government having a cultural approach to being the cycling capital of Australia not because of events but the cyclists per capita being greater than any other City or region. The region becomes a cycling destination that is inviting all comers to experience all aspects of cycling disciplines being normal life and not just grandstand events that have only a day or two impact.
Already Bendigo is being used as a cycling training destination. Wineries food and culture are all here ready to be tapped into. Can you image if all clubs were united in their vision of sharing resources such as rosters for Marshalling being reciprocal allowing all club members to be able to participate in their own club events? Clubs could send their Marshalls to support other clubs for the good of the sport and encouragement of growth.
Building sporting venues to be cycling friendly such as perimeter criterium track using existing road way infrastructure, saves on road permits and makes a safe friendly venue for all ages to enjoy and bike parking for venue users.
Most of what has been shared above has potential to come to reality as there are glimpses of all these things happening in isolation. The hope of the dream and vision is that with co-operation and commitment to a cycling culture, barriers and boundaries can be reduced across Road, Track, Veterans, Triathletes, BMX and recreational and commuter disciplines.
Cycling can well be a family affair a business incentive and a schools program with the whole community benefiting.
‘Vision, like courage and discipline, is a trait that can be developed by anyone willing to work hard at making it part of their everyday life.’ The poet wrote: ‘Two men looked through prison bars; one saw mud, the other stars.’
We must energise our vision through faith and give it momentum through hard work! Even if these don’t come to fruition there is nothing wrong with dreaming of good to come from being a united community of cyclists.
See you on the road soon God willing.