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 tire 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, and will now be on your tires and in your path. Not to mention, the wet is slippery in itself!

Lower your tire pressure to give yourself a bigger contact surface with the road and improve your grip. Some cyclists lower their tire pressure by as much as 15 psi, but you should find what you’re comfortable with. You’ll be less inefficient, 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!


The Cities that do Cycling the Best

There are a few companies out there who rank and report on the best cities for bicycling, and you can add Coya to that list. The insurance tech startup based in Berlin has created their own analysis of the world’s top cycling cities.

Crunching the numbers on 16 categories ranging from safety to local weather year-round, Coya employed statistical analysis instead of subjective feelings and opinions, and arrived at a list of 90 cities.

The top 10 Cycling Cities in the World

Here is Coya’s top 10:

  1. Utrecht (NL)
  2. Münster (DE)
  3. Antwerp (BE)
  4. Copenhagen (DK)
  5. Amsterdam (NL)
  6. Malmö (SE)
  7. Hangzhou (CN)
  8. Bern (CH)
  9. Bremen (DE)
  10. Hannover (DE)

As you would expect, the top 10 is heavily skewed towards central and northern European cities, who have been at the forefront of city cycling for decades. In fact, 30 of the top 35 are European cities.

The Chinese city of Hangzhou sneaks into 7th place despite poor safety results relative to others in the top 10. The other two non-European cities in the top 20 are Montreal, Canada, in the 16th spot and Melbourne in 20th.

Melbourne’s statistics here are actually very impressive. Their great safety statistics lands them the second highest Safety Score overall. The only other Australian city represented in the top 90 is Sydney in 40th, which actually comes third in the Safety Score category.

New Zealand is also represented twice in the top 50, through Wellington (30th) and Auckland (49th). The highest placing African city is Morocco’s Casablanca in 42nd.

You can read Coya’s full Bicycle Cities Index 2019 report here to read more about their data categories, individual scores, and the full list of the 90 best cycling cities in the world.

What about Brisbane?

So Brisbane didn’t quite make the cut this year, but that’s okay. Building new cycling infrastructure is a big priority for Brisbane City Council going forward, and we’re excited to see all of the improvements this will bring.

Five new green bridges have already been announced, and are being planned right now. They are:

  • Toowong to West End
  • St. Lucia to West End
  • Kangaroo Point to CBD
  • Breakfast Creek 
  • Bellbowrie

An increased focus on cycling and pedestrian traffic, and linking these with the CBD and public transport routes will do wonders for Brisbane as a cycling city. It will help clear up traffic congestion and pollution.

End-of-trip facilities like ours at cycle2city will surely also play a part in ensuring Brisbane has a future on two wheels. Lack of comfort and convenience are two of the biggest obstacles for people who consider cycling to work, and that’s exactly what we offer at our facilities!

Here are just some of the services we offer:

  • Secure, state of the art bike storage for 400+ bikes
  • 400+ personal lockers
  • 15 women’s showers and 18 men’s showers means no queues ever
  • Fresh towels supplied daily
  • Bike workshop with same day service while you are at work
  • Optional dry-clean service with fresh clothes delivered direct to your locker
  • 24/7 member access in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD

Interested in cycling to work? Click here to sign up to a free 7 day trial with us so that you can start work well!


Top 5 Reasons to Commute by Bike

Cycling to work has a number of advantages over driving or taking public transport. Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 reasons why you should commute by bicycle!

Save time

As Brisbane’s population continues to grow, the traffic gets worse and worse. Rush hour is now packed with more cars and buses than ever, but you know who doesn’t get trapped in rush hour traffic?

Cyclists. Cycling to work is quicker than driving or taking public transport for many commuters in peak traffic. Cycling to work will always take the same amount of time, no matter how much – or little – traffic there is.

Save money

Cars are expensive. The average weekly fuel cost in Australia is $71.5. If you include insurance, repairs and services, the average two-car household in Brisbane spends almost $20,000 on their cars every year. Wow.

Parking in Brisbane adds another cost on top, if you’re even able to find somewhere to park.

Public transport is much cheaper, but has the inconvenience of not getting to choose when to drive. But just because it’s cheaper than driving doesn’t mean that it’s cheap. Single zone tickets will cost $6.62 return in Brisbane, which amounts to $1,655 per year.

Most people live in zone 2 or 3, which makes tickets significantly more expensive, and it’s not uncommon to pay more than $10 in public transport fare every day.

At cycle2city, you get secure bike storage, free towels, clean shower facilities and many more amenities from just $4.30 per day! 

Beat the time crunch by including exercise

Do you sometimes feel that you wish you could hit the gym and get in shape, but you just can’t find the time? Look no further! By cycling to work, you’ll save time and get your exercise in at the same time, leaving you to invest your time savings where you want.

Cycling to work has a large range of health benefits like protecting you from serious diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, diabetes and arthritis. All this while being a form of exercise that has a low barrier to entry and a low impact on joints!

Fresh air

Gettin out in the fresh air just feels great, there’s no other way around it. Especially here in Queensland, where we are blessed with some of the best weather in the world year-round.

It’s a great way to unwind and blow off some steam after a stressful workday, and getting a break from our computer and mobile screens is a welcome change of pace.

Riding your bike is also a benefit for the people around you because cycling is a zero-emission mode of transport. A solo driver in an average vehicle releases about 1 kilo of C02 per 3 kilometers, an average cyclist releases 1.4 grams.

Transport accounts for approximately 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and switching to riding a bike is one of the best things you can do for the environment.

Safety and the virtuous cycle

Feel like cycling to Brisbane is unsafe? It may seem counterintuitive, but the more cyclists we have on our roads, the less likely we are to have cyclists being struck by cars in traffic.

This is because cyclist safety is a virtuous cycle. Dr Julie Hatfield of The University of New South Wales says that “the likelihood that an individual cyclist will be struck by a motorist falls with increasing rate of bicycling in a community. And the safer cycling is perceived to be, the more people are prepared to cycle.”

This isn’t because there are less drivers overall, but because the drivers change their behaviour and become more cautious and careful as they become used to sharing the road with cyclists. This means that cycling is seen as safer, which means that more people begin cycling to work, and the cycle continues!

 

Are you interested in starting to cycle to work? At cycle2city, we offer a 7 day free trial that includes full use of our state of the art facilities:

  • 420 bike parking spaces utilising the latest German technology
  • Secure electronic entry for members
  • 270 secure lockers and 18 showers for men
  • 150 secure lockers and 15 showers for women
  • 12 lockers in the people with disability area
  • A fresh towel provided daily
  • Irons & ironing boards
  • Hair dryers
  • Access to valet laundry and cleaning service
  • Air-conditioned locker rooms
  • A full-service on-site bicycle workshop
  • Small retail area providing basic “commuter emergency items” from toothpaste to bicycle accessories.

Click here to sign up to your 7 day free trial today!


Frequency Illusion, road tripping and cyclists

On March 28th I wrote this blog in order to have it ready for posting today. At the time I was an avid dot watcher, totally taken in by the strength of the Indian Pacific Wheel Racers. A race that caught the attention of so many. Cyclist or not, computer screens across the globe were alight with flashing dots watching these amazing people ride from Freemantle, WA to Sydney, NSW.   I was in total awe not only of their physical capabilities but their individual resilience and mental toughness.

Australian open roadAt approximately 6.30am, Friday March, 31, the race changed. It was no longer about how far the dots had moved but about how one dot had stopped moving. A race that had captivated so many had changed, it was now about the loss of Mike Hall, second place rider in the #IPWR. A man, that before the race I did not know of. Like so many others I felt I had come to know a little part of him, I admired his spirit, his grit and most of all his smile that didn’t seem to waiver no matter the terrain. When I read the news that a fatality had occurred, I sat stunned, tears streaming down my cheeks, my children asked me what was wrong, I had no words.

I recently read a piece from Craig Fry, it touched a nerve, I too ride with my children and while I’m not in the same riding category as Craig I have the same fears he wrote about – allowing my children to move from the path to the road is a mammoth ask.  Not only am I looking and listening out for my own safety, I now have 3 other little people I need to keep safe.

Mike Hall’s tragic accident leaves us all with questions, how? Why? What? Some we may never know the answers too, what we do know though is that we need to raise positive awareness of cyclists on our roads. We’re all someone’s mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, cousin, friend, lover, wife, husband…to someone we are their everything. How do we change the current attitude of all road users?

AWARENESS is a start….we all need to be aware of who is behind, in front and beside us on the road, regardless of the vehicle type, we are all road users and need to be aware of each other. What if just by playing road trip games you can increase the awareness of cyclists on the road?

Punch BuggyThis is where ‘frequency illusion’ or ‘Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon’, comes into play. What is this? Well have you every played punch buggy? You know, see a VW Beetle and punch the passenger beside you while calling ‘PUNCH BUGGY’. Have you noticed how this game heightens your awareness of these cars on the road? That is exactly what frequency illusion is. It’s the ‘phenomenon’ in which people who learn or notice something, start seeing it everywhere. It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden there are more VW Beetles on the road, it just means that you now have a heightened awareness for these cars. So why not use this phenomenon to heighten awareness of cyclists on the road!

Road trip games can be an easy way to pass the time while on a long or short trip, something to keep the passengers entertained so the driver can concentrate on driving. Why not mix up some common road trip games or introduce some new ones this Easter. Try out these ideas. You just wait and see how frequency illusion kicks in after playing these.

  • Counting cyclists, simple yet affective.  It really is that simple, you can simply count how many cyclists you see on road trips or mix it up a little.  2 points for a bicycle, 1 point for a motorcycle and a bonus 10 points for a tandem bicycle…yes we do see these. You can set a point goal, or just try and achieve maximum points until you reach your destination.  First to see calls it, as you can guess this one can get a little heated, be ready for a good debate over who saw what first.
  • Traffic cricket – We choose red for our wicket (it is my favourite colour after all).  Passenger one will start the count (we count any road user, cyclist; motorcycle; car; truck etc), passenger one will continue to count road users until they encounter RED (a red car, red truck, rider wearing or riding a red bike etc).  Passenger two then starts their count until they encounter RED.  The game continues for as long as you like.  The passenger with the highest count during their innings wins!
  • Spotto – An old favourite. See a yellow car and call ‘SPOTTO’, well why not get creative. We’ve come up with many more names like: Fairy Floss – pink; Booger – Green; Crusty Demon – Motorcycle and Wheelie – cyclist. Kids are very creative; if you’re ever stuck for ideas ask a little one for help.
  • Cyclist silence – Everyone in the car must remain silent until someone spots a cyclist. Not going to lie, this is one of my favourites.
  • Cyclist story – Remember the shopping game…I went to the shops and bought a……. Well same idea different base.
    • Step 1 – see a cyclist and give him/her a name.
    • Step 2 – passenger 1: This is Sam, Sam went for a ride and saw a purple people eater
    • Step 3 – passenger 2: Sam went for a ride and saw a purple people eater and a Brisbane Bronco
    • Step 4 – passenger 3: Sam went for a ride and saw a purple people eater, a Brisbane Bronco and a truck carting seals etc etc
    • Carry on until a) you see another cyclist or b) someone can’t remember something in story. A new game then kicks off.

Remember these are passenger games! Be mindful of your driver and avoid distractions.

There are so many avenues to available to bring about positive changes for all road uses. Organisations such as Space for cycling Brisbane and local BUG’s (Bicycle User Groups) proactively seek change. Get involved help make positive changes in your community to make the road safe for all users. Speak to your local member and let them know of concerns in your community.

Let us know what you do to promote safe cycling in your community.

EasterHappy Easter from the team at cycle2city.  Remember, Easter chocolate is calorie free – ok it’s not but I’ll keep telling myself that.