Bike with Brisbane – Active Commute Day

Bicycle Queensland’s Active Commute Day is taking place on Wednesday 18th March, and is rapidly approaching! Want to learn more about Queensland’s biggest celebration of active travel? Keep reading!

Bike with Brisbane – Active Commute Day is a free community event, and is suited for all current activity levels, and you are encouraged to sign up whether you’re already a member of the active commute community or if you’re curious about learning more!

By signing up for free you’ll also be able to join their free breakfast at QEII Courts of Law Forecourt, 415 George St, Brisbane. Beyond Bicycle Queensland’s free breakfast, you can also come through and enjoy free entertainment, exhibition stalls, competitions and prizes.

There will also be free guided active commutes on the day, which can be handy if you’re new to commuting with a bike, walking or jogging, or would simply like to join for the social aspect! Guided active commutes can take place on a bike, e-bike, handcycle, tandem, city cycle or as a walker or runner.

These guided commutes will take place from Toowong, Howard Smith Wharves, Dutton Park, Albion and Greenslopes. You can find more information on Bicycle Queensland’s website, including where and when to meet up.

Other highlights of the Active Commute Day include:

  • Cycle Advocacy and Education Activation
  • Active Commuter Social Media Activation
  • Entertainment, prizes and competitions
  • Harmony Ride and Launch of the Commuter Harmony Alliance

The event takes place on the Queensland Law Courts Plaza on Wednesday the 18th of March. Free breakfast and celebrations take place between 6:30 am and 8:30 am on the day, with guided commutes taking place at various times during the morning.

Visit the organisers’ website for more information or to sign up for a free breakfast in the city! We hope to see you there in two weeks!


MS Brissie to the Bay 2020: support and cycle!

The MS Brissie to the Bay bike ride is a tentpole community event in Brisbane’s bicycling calendar. In fact, the ride is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020!

While Brissie to the Bay is known for the friendly atmosphere, this ride is more than just a fun day out on the bike; riders raise money to help change the lives of the thousands of Australians living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

This year’s ride will take place on the 14th of June, and will start in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane. The MS Brissie to the Bay bike ride is made up of 5 rides of varying distance to cater for different riding groups and rider abilities!

Riders can choose between the family friendly 10 km ride, the scenic 25 km ride, the classic 50 km ride, the challenging 100 km ride and – just for the anniversary year – a brand new 130 km ride out to the Bayside region.

All of the route options ride through the streets of South Brisbane, heading out towards Wynnum on the Moreton Bay coastline. Along the way you will have a police escort and road marshalling for the safety of the riders.

Funds raised from this event go to a very worthy cause, and will be used by MS Queensland to provide care and support for those who suffer MS.

Brisbane weather in June is usually very mild and stable, making it perfect for a beautiful bike ride with friends or family. You can expect temperatures ranging from 5 to 10 degrees in the morning to somewhere between 20 and 25 in the afternoon, with a likelihood of dry weather and clear skies!

Cycle2city has been proud supporters of MS Brissie to the Bay since 2013, and will once again be participating in this wonderful event.

Visit brissietothebay.com.au for more information about the event, and sign up through their website


When is it Safe to Ride in Bushfire Smoke?

Parts of Australia have been a blazing inferno for three months now. While Brisbane has been fortunate, there have been sporadic bushfires in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales that have impacted our river city.

It’s obvious that riding through thick plumes of smoke won’t be good for you, but it’s harder to know when it is and isn’t safe to ride when you can barely notice the smoke layer.

And that’s exactly what we hope to shed some light on for you in this blog!

Bushfire smoke is no joke

Both Canberra and Melbourne were measured to have the worst air quality in the world at some point in the last month. Sydney only got down to the 9th worst in the world, but that was their worst ever measurement. What does it all mean?

The problem is that smoke is mainly made up of three things: small particles, gases, and water vapour. The ingredient that poses the biggest immediate danger is the particles. This particulate matter (PM) can be extremely small.

Particulate matter is measured in micrometres, and one micrometre is 1/1000 millimetre – extremely small. These particles are carried by wind and gases, and can be as small as 1 micrometre. For reference, the diameter of a human hair is around 75 micrometre, so these particles are extremely small.

Particles at around 10 micrometre (also known as PM10) are small enough to pass through your airways and into your lungs. Particles at PM2.5 are so small that they can enter your bloodstream through the lungs.

As these particles build up in your body, they can cause a number of health problems:

  • Irritated eyes and a burning sensation
  • Irritated nose and throat – runny noses are common
  • Aggravated asthma symptoms 
  • Aggravating lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema
  • Aggravating heart diseases such as congestive heart failure and arrhythmia

What can you do? When can you ride?

New South Wales’ official advice for protecting yourself from bushfire smoke includes:

  • Avoiding vigorous exercise
  • Spending more time indoors
  • Spending time in air conditioned venues

You could also use a P2/N95 face mask to reduce your exposure to breathing in particulate matter, but will also make it harder to breathe, especially when you’re riding a bike.

The only real option to not expose yourself to serious health risks if the air quality is bad is to get a roller trainer for your bicycle and work up a sweat inside at home.

How to check the air quality

Air quality is measured by the Air Quality Index. You can find their scores by visiting their website

 

The website readings are colour coded, which makes them easy to understand. For some further nuance, here are the official guidelines for air quality readings:

  • 0-50 – Good: Air quality is considered good, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
  • 51-100 – Moderate: Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution. Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
  • 101-150 – Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups: Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected. Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
  • 151-200 – Unhealthy: Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
  • 201-300 – Very unhealthy: Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected. Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit outdoor exertion.
  • 300+ – Hazardous: Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects. Everyone should avoid all outdoor exertion

As you can see above, active children and adults should begin limiting their outdoor workouts already at 101 PPM. At the time of writing, parts of Victoria, including Melbourne, sit at around 160 PPM.

Unfortunately, the only way to stay safe from bushfire smoke is to avoid it as much as possible. If you have to ride, do it at the gym or on a roller trainer indoors. Smoke is very dangerous, and your one workout is not important enough to risk chronic lung problems.


Our 7 Top Tips for Cycling in the Rain

It’s that time of the year in Brisbane. Days of high heat, followed by days of suffocating humidity, followed by days of torrential downpour. It’s a familiar cycle for anyone who has spent more than one summer in Brissy.

Can you still ride your bike on rainy days in Brisbane? Absolutely! In fact, the cool change can be very welcome at times. But there are some modifications you should consider making, and we’ve tried to compress our top tips for wet weather riding into this blog post!

1. Lights (camera and action optional)

Lights are always important, but they are rarely more important than in the rain. Not only is it darker because it’s overcast, but drivers in cars have worse visibility in the rain. Making sure you are visible to everyone on the road needs to be your number one priority in the rain. Speaking of…

2. Waterproof hi-vis jacket

Your jacket should probably stay true to the ethos of keeping you seen and keeping you alive. Bright fluorescent colours will do wonders for that.

Your jacket should also be waterproof. As most experienced cyclists will know, the combination of windchill and being soaking wet is gruelling, and should be avoided if you can. Remember, though, that your waterproof jacket needs to have adequate ventilation because riding in the equivalent of a plastic bag is also a terrible experience.

3. Overshoes, gloves and a cap

When riding in cold conditions, it’s important that we do our best to cover and protect extremities because they will be affected first and worst. That means feet, hands and head.

Water resistant overshoes will keep your feet dry while you push pedals in the rain, and are a godsend. Waterproof gloves are also great, and will add a layer of protection from the windchill of the lowered temperatures.

The vents on your helmet are invaluable during scorching Brisbane summer days…. During those infamous afternoon storms? Not so much. Simply adding a cycling cap will keep most of the windchill off you. Plus, the peak should give your eyes some protection from rain droplets.

4. Wear glasses

Apropos protecting your eyes from the rain! The roads are slippery, cars seem less trustworthy, and the last thing you want is to get hit in the eye by a big raindrop. Dark glasses aren’t a good choice when it rains, so you should opt for clear or yellow lenses.

Water and droplets collecting on your lenses are also problematic, and many people avoid glasses for this reason, but you should know that there are hydrophobic sprays that treat your lenses and help you avoid this entirely!

5. Lower your tyre pressure

Riding in wet conditions means that you need to worry about your road grip, especially if it’s the first rain in weeks, as if often the case in Brisbane. Oils that have been building up in cracks of the road surface for a long time will be lifted up by rainwater, and will now be on your tyres and in your path. Not to mention, the wet is slippery in itself!

Lower your tyre pressure to give yourself a larger contact surface with the road and improve your grip. Some cyclists lower their tyre pressure by as much as 10-15 psi, but you should find what you’re comfortable with. You’ll be less efficient, but more safe. Ultimately, that seems like a good trade-off to us.

6. Avoid white lines

Many of you may have been unfortunate enough to experience how slippery the white lane markings can be in the dry, and they are even more dangerous in the wet.

Take extra care to be aware of the white lines, and try to avoid them if possible – especially on corners or zebra crossings.

7. Slow down and ride to conditions (and avoid puddles)

Riding in wet conditions isn’t inherently dangerous, it just carries more risk than perfect weather. Knowing this is half the battle, and changing your riding to suit the conditions is the other half. In general, it’s smart to slow down and take it easy. Now is not the time to push for a PB on your favourite route. Taking corners more slowly, as mentioned above, is very important. You should also take extra care to slow down if you’re on a route you’re not familiar with.

If at all possible, you should avoid puddles. Not just because they’ll splash you with dirty water, but more importantly because you have no way of knowing what hides underneath the surface.

We can all imagine what could happen if you ride into a deep pothole or a puddle hiding a big rock going at 40 km/h.


Best Bike Routes in Brisbane

Brisbane didn’t make the list when German insurance startup Coya ranked the 90 best cycling cities in the world in 2019, but that doesn’t mean that Brisbane is a bad city for cycling.

In fact, Brisbane has come a very long way in the decade cycle2city has been operating. Continuous improvements, new bikeway projects and the addition of new pedestrian bridges has turned Brisbane into one of Australia’s leading cycling cities, and plenty of new projects are in the planning stage to improve upon this!

Here’s some of our favourite Brisbane tracks to ride, in no particular order!

  • Wynnum To Manly

This beautiful bayside trail along the Wynnum Manly foreshore is lovely, no matter the time of year or if you’re riding during low or high tide. The views past the Manly marina, the Wynnum Wading Pool and the pier are terrific, and the ocean breeze will keep you cool on the warmest summer days.

At 6 kilometres, this is an easy trail that you can bring the whole family along to. Find maps and more information here.

  • Mount Coot-tha

This is a bit out of character for us since these are off road or mountain bike trails, but they are some of the most unique in Brisbane, and are a great experience. Covering more than 23 kms of tail, Mount Coot-tha has trails for beginners and advanced riders, and Brisbane’s best view to boot!

  • Veloway 1

Those cycling from south of Brisbane can hop on the Veloway 1 as far out at Eight Mile Plains, with multiple other access points. The separated bike path connects directly to Kangaroo Point Bikeway and Brisbane CBD, making it perfect for commuters.

Visit Cycling Brisbane for maps and more information.

  • Kedron Brook Bikeway

This track is a favourite for North-side Brisbanites. Stretching some 20 kms from Mitchelton to Nundah – or the other way around – the Kedron Brook Bikeway consists of pathways and separated bikeways, which makes for a very pleasant weekend ride.

Find maps and more information on the Cycling Brisbane website.

  • River loop

What good is the Brisbane River if we don’t take advantage of its beautiful vistas? Arguably the most popular bike route in the city, the river loop is suitable for both social riding and training. It starts at South Bank and will take you through the beautiful riverfront suburbs to the South-West of the city.

See the full route on Google Maps here.

What do you do after a rewarding bike ride? Stop by cycle2city after your ride to have a shower, freshen up in our air conditioned locker rooms, and get dressed in freshly dry-cleaned clothes. If you stop by our website, you can yourself grab a free 7 day trial today!


New decade, new you? A guide to setting resolutions that actually work

2020 is the start of a new decade. What better time to turn over a new leaf? Here’s how to go about setting your new year’s resolutions.

The thing about New Year’s resolutions is… They don’t work. I’m sure this isn’t really surprising to you. We’ve all set New Year’s resolutions to start doing something overly ambitious at some point – only to fail, lose interest or simply forget.

Research shows that less than 25% of resolutioners actually stick it out for a full month, and fewer than 8% actually accomplish what they’ve set out to do.

The problem is that we want it all, and we want it now, so we jump head first into the deep end. We make drastic changes that are unsustainable in the long run instead of making small lifestyle adjustments that can stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Here’s what to do: Set SMART goals

And by SMART, we mean Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Making sure your goals for the new year have these characteristics will give you the best possible chance of succeeding.

  • Specific: being specific helps keep you accountable. Say “I will ride my bike to work three times a week” instead of “I’m gonna start exercising”
  • Measurable: In order to measure progress, we have to determine what we’re measuring. Saying that you want to lose weight isn’t specific enough, and that makes it easier to quit early.
  • Achievable: This one’s pretty self-explanatory. You can set super ambitious goals, but you should break them up into smaller, achievable pieces. Losing 10 kilos is hard, but losing 1 kilo several times over is easier, more achievable, and easier to stay motivated for!
  • Realistic: “Achievable” ensures that your goal is attainable, but this ensures that it’s something you’re willing to attain. Want to lose weight, but you’re not willing to work for it? Sorry, that isn’t a realistic goal yet.
  • Timely: You should put a deadline on achieving your goal. A deadline can help keep yourself accountable, which is a good thing. Just make sure your deadline is realistic too. Making big changes to your life is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow and steady wins the race.

Plan for failure

If you set out to change your life in any meaningful way, it’s almost certain that you will fail at some point. If you start a new diet, you will cheat on it. If you start working out, you will take a few too many days off. It’s only natural.

It’s really hard to change habits we have ingrained in ourselves over years or decades, nevermind changing them in a couple of weeks.

What’s important is to anticipate the failures and to not give up when you hit a temporary setback. It’s all too easy to think “oh, I messed up this week, so I’ll just start again on Monday”, but a more healthy approach is to recognise your mistakes and get back on the horse.

Start low and go slow

Whether you’re new to exercising or a veritable professional, you might want to trial your new resolution before you commit.

If you’re thinking about cycling to work, you should know that cycle2city has a 7 day free trial, which you can find here!