Under skies threatening to unleash rain, we met Bicycle NSW Member, Donna Quinn. Fresh off her 33km commute to work, Donna was all smiles.
“My favourite weather for riding is when it’s threatening to rain, but it doesn’t actually rain,” stated Donna, “there is less glare and it’s usually nice and cool as well.”
Donna’s carefully planned route from her home in Sutherland to work in Parramatta doesn’t change. She mostly rides on the road as there is no decent cycling infrastructure available.
“A lot of my ride is through areas with lots of tradies and trucks - they drive a lot for work. Almost all are respectful and obviously aware that cyclists don’t hold them up. It’s ridiculous if anyone thinks cyclists legitimately cause traffic congestion in Australia,” Donna told us.
However, she also knows to stay aware on the roads as they can be dangerous if you aren’t paying attention.
“I’ve had a few hair raising adventures - it’s simply people not seeing me. The scariest incident I have ever had was a semi trailer pulling into the main road from a side road - he just didn’t see me. I had to swerve into the right hand lane to avoid being hit - I was going down hill and there was no way I could have stopped in time. It was absolutely terrifying and it shook me up for quite a long time,” explained Donna.
This did not stop Donna getting back on her bike. Having been raised in a bike riding family - her Dad commuted to work and her Mum rode recreationally - she’s been riding her whole life. As a teenager, Donna’s family didn’t have a car, which encouraged them all to ride bikes. Donna still thinks that was “fantastic”.
During her university years, Donna’s bike sat in the garage, until 2010 when she started working full time. Her first commute by bike was 10km one way, as she moved jobs over time it increased to 33km.
Donna makes bike riding work for her – she’ll ride to work and take the train home, leaving the bike at work overnight. The next day, she takes the train to work and cycles home. Some days she might cycle the 66km round trip, but for Donna bike riding keeps her fit enough for her passion, bushwalking. Balancing out her riding and bushwalking, keeps Donna healthy and active.
“I’m pretty lucky with the end of trip facilities at work too - showers, somewhere to put your bike, you can drop off your dry cleaning, towel service, lockers, really nice change rooms, there are irons, hair dryers, hair straighteners etc,” Donna explained to us. Riding to work for eight years now, Donna’s current job definitely has the best facilities but she hopes more businesses will follow suit.
Her piece of advice for any rider thinking about commuting?
“Plan your route quite carefully, don’t hug the curb and use a rear-view mirror.”
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