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It is nearly a year since Bicycle NSW partnered with HelloRide, one the world’s largest and operators of shared micromobility fleets.           

To celebrate our continued collaboration on encouraging urban residents to 'Drive Less and Ride More', Bicycle NSW and HelloRide organised a fun and free guided Social Ride in November. We wanted to introduce our friends and Members to HelloRide’s new Gen-2 e-bikes and show off the increasingly amazing bicycle infrastructure in the City of Sydney.

There is another free Social Ride on 17th December.  Head here to register!

The Social Ride group on Pyrmont Bridge with Bicycle NSW Active Transport Planner Sarah Bickford. It was a great opportunity to discuss riding etiquette on this low-speed shared space section of the regional bicycle route to the Inner West. And check out the everchanging urban environment of Darling Harbour! (Image: HelloRide)

Gen-2 bikes

24 riders signed up for the event and met at Haymarket to pick up an unlocked HelloRide bike and helmet.  The Gen-2 bikes have more comfortable seats that can be easily adjusted, safer brakes and a sturdier frame.

Participants getting ready to go at Haymarket. HelloRide bikes come with adjustable helmets and seats so riders of all ages and abilities can be safe and comfortable (Image: HelloRide)

Riders were split into two groups

The riders were split into two groups led by Bicycle NSW CEO Peter McLean and Bicycle NSW Active Transport Planner Sarah Bickford. After a brief safety chat, the groups set off through Darling Square to Tumbalong Park and the share user bridge that connects dedicated bicycle path on Liverpool Street.

A showcase of different infrastructure treatments

Liverpool Street and Castlereagh Street have good facilities and the riders were impressed that such bicycle paths exist in the heart of the CBD.  However, some of the signalised crossings are difficult to navigate in a group.  The timings prioritise cars and there are very short gaps that cyclist through.  It took three light cycles at some intersections to reassemble the group.

Bicycle NSW campaign to improve priority for people walking and cycling

Read more about the Bicycle NSW campaign to improve priority for people walking and cycling in our recent article Pedestrians Are Fed Up With Begging

From the southern end of Castlereagh Street, the route used the shared path in Belmont Park before joining the (mostly) excellent separated cycleway around the east side of Central Station. Unfortunately, this is marred by section where bike riders and pedestrians are thrown together opposite Foveaux Street – just at the spot where big crowds of people leaving the station wait to cross Elizabeth Street.  Transport for NSW urgently needs to work on a solution for this area as the conflict will only get worse when the Sydney Metro opens.

A splash of colour in Prince Alfred Park.  The 90m rainbow path was painted in 2017 to commemorate the November 2017 decision to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia (Image: HelloRide)

Once in Prince Alfred Park, the two groups reconvened for a photo and a rest before retracing their tracks to Liverpool Street.  And dealing with another round of poor traffic light phasing!

Group photo time at Prince Alfred Park (Image: HelloRide)

Groups headed south on the excellent Kent Street separated cycleway

Instead of cutting straight back to Tumbalong Park, the groups headed south on the excellent Kent Street separated cycleway. The path goes straight past Town Hall House, where the City of Sydney Cycleways team has worked hard for over 15 years, in a politically-fraught environment, to deliver the infrastructure we can all enjoy today.

At the junction with King Street, the route turned left towards Darling Harbour. This meant waiting for two signalised crossings, so it was rather slow!

Pyrmont Bridge and then onto the cycleway adjacent to Darling Drive

Following the shared path along the Western Distributor, the group made it to Pyrmont Bridge and then onto the cycleway adjacent to Darling Drive which provides a fast, (mostly!) separated way to get back to the start point on Hay Street.

There is a little video of the Social Ride here.

Bicycle NSW Active Transport Planner Sarah Bickford explains how bike riders can connect from Pyrmont Bridge to Anzac Bridge, Broadway and beyond
(Image: HelloRide)

 Advice for new riders

A big focus of the Social Ride was discussing how to ride to more places, more often in the City of Sydney.

Several of the riders had not been on a bike for a long time and had no knowledge of the possible routes for safe riding in the city. One couple cycled daily when living in Germany but felt that Sydney was too dangerous.  They lived close to the Wilson Street cycleway in Darlington but didn’t understand how it could be used for everyday journeys. The HelloRide tour was a real eye-opener for these riders. Bicycle NSW hopes that all the participants will be encouraged to keep exploring the network.

Of course, many of the best cycleways are away from main roads (thankfully). They are easily missed by people who only ever drive or catch buses. Hiding in plain sight! But there are some great resources to help root them out.

City of Sydney has a comprehensive and clear Cycling Map.

City of Sydney has a comprehensive and clear Cycling Map. The Cycleways teams also run guided rides for riders of all abilities and cycling courses designed to develop the skills and confidence required to be an effective bike rider in Sydney.

There are some very handy maps on the which link together off-road paths across Sydney. You can contact Bicycle NSW for route planning advice or post a request on this extremely useful and active Facebook group. The Bicycle NSW Rides pages have been updated recently and have a wealth of resources to inspire bike trips.

And the best advice of all?

Join Bicycle NSW to support our advocacy campaigns and partnerships! Bicycle NSW works hard to ensure that huge NSW Government investments in infrastructure deliver the best possible outcomes for bicycle riders. You will also be covered by the best bicycle insurance. 

Register here for the next free guided Social Ride with Hello Ride and Bicycle NSW on 17th December.
***Please join to the waitlist if spots are full as you will still be accepted into the ride***

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