Cycling Sydneysider #1: Marie
Where do you live? What’s your usual commute?
I live in Potts Point and I ride most often to the city via Woolloomooloo and through the Domain. I also ride to Surry Hills, Redfern and Newtown quite a lot, using the beautiful Bourke St cycleway. I rarely ride to the Eastern Suburbs because of the hills but I’m planning on purchasing an electric bike soon to make this happen.
You’re a born and bred Parisian. Can you tell us about how you first got into bikes and how you find riding a bike in Sydney?
I started cycling as a kid to go visit my friends who lived nearby. I was just too lazy to walk! Then I really got into cycling in my teenage years. Believe it or not - two girlfriends and I used our bikes to go to clubs at night because we were too scared to use public transportation in the middle of the night in Paris. The rest is history. Cycling is such a huge part of my life today. I use it to go shopping, to go visit friends who live on the other side of the city, to go to meetings to take my son to daycare (he absolutely loves it!). I truly believe Sydney has a lot to offer for cyclists: it is naturally beautiful, the weather is pleasant all year long, it does have a good existing cycling network. The key is finding the right path to where you want to go, one that feels safe, quick and connected. Your best ally is the City of Sydney cycling map which you can order for free here.
Sydney has changed quite a bit since you’ve arrived (6 years ago). Are you pleased with the progress made?
Yes, definitely, but we still have a long way to go. There are some beautiful cycleways that are now part of the network: Bourke St and George St cycleways just to name a couple. We have had some setback (don’t even mention College St cycleway being ripped off a couple of years ago) but we are moving in the right direction.
Any advice for people nervous about visiting bike shops?
I have visited most bikes shops in Sydney and have met some of the loveliest people I know there. Going to a bike shop can seem a bit daunting for some people who are not riders and don’t know the technical language. But mechanics are precisely there to inform you and help you. In Paris, your local bike shop is just like your local butcher or bakery – you know the people working there and you create that special relationship with them that just makes you feel connected to your community. It would be a shame not to have this in your life!
How do you find riding with a child?
After having spent over a year stuck at home with a young child, being able to go back on a bike with him felt like some sort of liberation. It enabled us to get to places much quicker and connect with our friends more easily. My son is completely addicted to being on the bike. He sings, talks, shouts to people – it’s like he’s completely alive when he can feel the wind in his hair!