Cycling in Melbourne Australia
I imagine I should have asked this in the Help Topics forum, but I didn't want to be the first one to post there at the risk of looking silly. Which, on the whole, isn't a bad metaphor for the subject of this post.
I moved to Melbourne at the start of this year with my new (first) bike, with the romantic idea that I'd be able to circumvent commuting costs and get fit at the same time. It's a good bike and I'm comfortable riding it. The problem is, after a few short rides between suburbs, I became terrified of riding on the road.
Cycle lanes are fine. Love them. But when I'm on a street with cars parked on the side, or going through an intersection, or riding in any kind of traffic, I freak out and end up walking my bike along the footpath. It's not the traffic I fear - it's more like a constant feeling that I'm doing something wrong.
I'm working under the hopeful assumption that this is a phase everyone goes through and I just have to ride on through it, but I'm hoping for a few answers to some of the beginnerish questions I have, like: What do I do when I stop at traffic lights? and What are good ways of not getting beeped at on roads without cycle lanes?
General stuff like that. Or maybe you could point me to some essential resource I've missed. I'm considering getting some lessons, but I'm a tad too broke for that right now. That said, I am serious about this cycling thing, and I'd love to get beyond this dread stage.
Thanks a lot. :)
I suggest you "hang out" at similar roads to the ones you want to travel on and see what other cyclists do.
As well as this, being familiar with the roads and tracks that are good, and the ones to avoid is something to learn.
I often ride out of my way to avoid roads that I don't like.
Often a good route results in a good ride.
Hi Rohan, All i can say is Go with the flow don't get upset with Car drivers be curtious, Now what about Traffic lights well just look at them and get on riding. I asume you know the road rules so stick to them.And take the Attitude YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT.don,t forget to signal your intentions.
Cycling needs to be fun, so have fun. Ride in areas you enjoy then venture out little by little. Maybe just one big traffic light or one block of a major road then turn off. Build up gently. If its' not fun, get off and walk - no problem with that.
Like Chris I go out of my way to avoid busy roads, where this isn't possible I stick to a few rules regardless of the reaction it invokes in our metal and plastic clad friends. Although they may seem obvious they work for me:
1) avoid riding within 1 metre of a parked car ... to avoid getting doored
2) take the lane at intersections ... to avoid getting squashed into the gutter
3) make eye contact at every chance ... to avoid getting cut-up
4) don't break the road rules ... to avoid invoking the ire of everyone else, including your fellow cyclists
5) use your voice, if you're loud enough drivers can hear you. If I see pedestrians, cars, or anyone not paying attention or being some kind of threat then they'll hear about it ... it's helped me avoid a scrape on a few occasions
6) Lastly, given the time of year, make sure you're lit up like a Christmas tree to ensure that you can be seen from a distance
I find that if you ride predictably, signal your intentions, and do your best not to be a nuisance that motorists generally treat you with respect. Where this fails I reckon that Karma will deal with them!