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And why I love it!

Environmentalist, Bicycle NSW friend and Arup transport planner Ed Forrester first decided to try cycling from Manly to Sydney’s CBD on National Ride to Work day last October. He had previously thought that the ride was unachievable due to a lack of safe infrastructure on congested roads, the topography and his low skill level as a rider. However, Ed’s opinion did a full 180 when he gave it a go.  

“The first thing to say was how much I enjoyed it with many stunning views over the Sydney Harbour. I was surprised at how many other cyclists were doing the same journey and how much cycling infrastructure there is that I hadn’t noticed. The journey is just over 17km and takes me about 45 minutes by e-bike,” said Ed.

The view over Middle Harbour from Edgecliffe Esplanade in Seaforth (Image: Ed Forrester)

“I rented a Lug + Carrie e-bike before investing in my own. E-bikes have outsold electric cars by a factor of 6 in Australia. Adult bikes are also outselling new cars. These trends need to be supported to get NSW on target to reduce emissions by 70% by 2030.” 

Here are the 4 key stages of Ed’s new daily journey:

Manly – Seaforth

I avoid Sydney Road and travel along Lauderdale Avenue and over the Ethel Street bridge to reach Seaforth. The shared path is unsuitable for faster cycling as it’s narrow, has blind corners and is popular with pedestrians and families with prams. Because of this I cycle on the road. The route is low-trafficked, so I don’t feel unsafe. A slight annoyance is bin day with bins placed on the narrow shared path instead of curb side. The views from Seaforth are the highlight of the ride!

The narrow shared path on Lauderdale Avenue is useful for slower cyclists and children – except when it’s cluttered with bins… (Image: Ed Forrester)

Seaforth – North Sydney

Yes, you can cycle over Spit Bridge, but it’s narrow! The ride up Parriwi Road is again low- trafficked and another highlight with spectacular views. The signalised crossing over the arterial traffic sewer of Spit Road in Mosman often has me waiting several minutes, along with frustrated pedestrians. Once over the road, the cycling infrastructure through to North Sydney is pretty good and segregated for large sections of the journey. I am on the roads some of the time, but traffic is filtered by closing certain streets to rat-running vehicles.  Well-designed cut throughs allow bikes to pass and enjoy a peaceful trip through attractive residential streets.

The shared path on the Spit Bridge (left) is very narrow and it is difficult to pass a bike or pedestrian without stopping. Young Street and Sutherland Street in Cremorne (right) have first-rate separated cycleways, thanks to North Sydney Council (Image: Ed Forrester)

North Sydney – Harbour Bridge

My preferred option to reach Milsons Point is to cross Military Road by The Oaks and cycle down Premier and Montpelier Streets to Clark Road and onto Broughton Street. This route feels lower trafficked and safer than routes through the North Sydney CBD. However, the junction at Burton Street to go under the Harbour Bridge isn’t bicycle or pedestrian friendly.

The calm back streets of Neutral Bay are a world away from the intense pollution and congestion on Military Road. It’s even better when the Jacarandas are blooming in the spring! (Image: Ed Forrester)

Harbour Bridge – Kent Street

From Milsons Point the journey is straightforward. Dismounting to push your bike up the infamous 55 steps is worth it for the views west over Sydney Harbour. Thanks to the great work the City of Sydney, the Kent Street cycleway is fully separated with traffic lights for riders. I am also very fortunate that Arup provides fantastic end-of-trip facilities accessed directly from Kent Street. 

The dedicated cycleway on the west side of the Harbour Bridge (left).  The trip to work ends on Kent Street with its excellent separated cycleway (right) which connects the Harbour Bridge to Liverpool Street and keeps bike riders safe from the CBD traffic (Image: Ed Forrester)

Give it a Go!

Riding to work is also an excellent way to exercise without needing a gym and I’d encourage anyone to give it a go. The journey might be more fun and safer than you realise. You can also make some friends at work or near where you live and join your local Bicycle User Group (BUG). If there isn’t a BUG, think about starting one. Bicycle NSW has all the resources to help you do that.

Join Bicycle NSW

Not only do we have the best bicycle insurance, but Bicycle NSW have also been actively campaigning for 47 years in NSW for better infrastructure for bike riders of all ages and abilities. Join us now and support our campaign for Better Streets.

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