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Inner Western Courier Thursday Not Used Anymore : July 2 2008
4 INNER-WEST WEEKLY, Thursday, July 3, 2008 NEWS www.innerwestweekly.com.au BY BICYCLE Great race across Iron Cove XAVIER TOBY FORGET your weight worries, petrol prices and train delays -- cycle to work! As the inaug- ural winner of the Inner-West Weekly Iron Cove Bridge Challenge in a record- breaking time, I'd like to thank the inventors of the combustion engine only for making an inferior method of transport. Cycling to work only takes me minutes longer and I don't have to then rush to the gym. It is surprisingly safe as well. In order to avoid most of the traffic I ride on a wide footpath between the Iron Cove Bridge and the Anzac Bridge. The curbs at cross streets have been flattened to facilitate cycling. Avoiding people around bus stops and pedestrians unaware of cyclists can be tricky and there are often close calls when cars come out of side streets without looking. From the Gladesville Bridge to the Iron Cove Bridge I take back streets since these are much safer than the heavily-congested Victoria Rd and the footpath needs repair. As Australia competes with America to be the fattest country on the planet, more people should be cycling. I've lost weight, have more energy and have saved money since I started cycling to work, and it is the only properly- sustainable transport option. At the office we have a shower and a bike rack which should be provided by every workplace. The only times I don't ride is during extreme weather. Sydney is not a cycle-friendly city. There are few paths dedicated to cyclists and the narrow roads and aggressive drivers make it a sometimes perilous experience. Another problem is the amount of broken glass on the road and bike paths, especially after the weekend, which causes a puncture at least a month. BY BUS FIONA BRADY BEING much too lazy to cycle and still sans driving licence, I was nominated as the public transport guinea pig. Which is no bad thing. No saddle sores, punctures, bowser pain or road rage for me. I love being able to relax and read on my way to work. And I can smugly tell myself that I'm contributing to a cleaner environ- ment by opting to travel with 57 other people. Having previously lived in Birkenhead Point for two years, I was already aware of the pluses and minuses of the Victoria Rd bus service. From our starting point at the foot of the Gladesville Bridge, my companion and I waited only three minutes for a bus to come along (plus) but the car and the bicycle got a good headstart on us. When the bus did arrive, we nabbed the two remaining seats (plus for us, minus for everyone who boarded after us). Our journey was delayed by having to pick up and drop off passengers at every stop (minus), but the bus lane did help us catch up with the car. We eventually clocked in at 16.24 minutes, slower than the bike but (just) faster than the car. From Drummoyne, a bus trip into the city costs $3 or you can buy a TravelTen ticket for $24 and obviously there are no maintenance costs with public transport. And you don't have to wear Lycra (major plus). BY CAR ALEX WISSER I'M no revhead, but being a photographer, I can't do without a car to lug around all my equipment. I usually try to avoid Victoria Rd in peak hour traffic, particularly the Iron Cove Bridge section, so I was a rather reluctant participant in our experiment. I got off to a faster start than my colleagues but I hit my first snarl half-way up the first hill. After that, it was pretty much stop and go all the way until I reached Darling St, Rozelle. My time was about 17 minutes, making me unlucky last. It's a rather frustrating start to the day and I'm grateful I don't have to tackle it on a daily basis. Mind you, with the private schools off on holidays, the traffic situation was probably slightly better than normal. I'm no expert, but I think having a clearway both ways would be an advantage on this notorious stretch. Having another lane on the bridge would also be a big help. Of course, it isn't just time you're spending. My little Ford Festiva which used to take $30 to fill a year ago, now costs about $50 -- and it's on the up. So take my advice: If you don't need a car for work, take the bus.
June 25 2008
July 9 2008