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Bike trails of Melbourne - Introduction - He's just this guy, you know.

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January 10th, 2013


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02:48 pm - Bike trails of Melbourne - Introduction
This is the first in an occasional/irregular series of posts about the various bike paths/routes that I've used around Melbourne. This will mostly focus on the eastern suburbs, because that's where I do most of my riding ...

I want to evaluate them from a few different points of view - those of a regular commuter, a slightly more serious cyclist, a casual rider, and finally, a parent/adult with child or children in tow.
These are the different needs I see for these users :

Commuter - firstly, the route needs to go where the commuter wants to go. For many in Melbourne, that means the CBD. Ideally, the route would be fairly direct, and reasonably safe for riding on every day. Hilliness is a consideration, too.

Serious cyclist - might be training for a cycling event, or cross-training for some other sport. Broadly speaking, these riders will want routes without too many stops or slow-downs, hills may not be such a problem (unless the aim is to practice time-trialling).

Casual cyclist - I imagine this as someone going on a weekend recreational ride - they won't care so much about getting anywhere in particular in a hurry, but would probably prefer reasonably pleasant surroundings along the way. Signage is important, as they won't want to get completely lost along the way, and likely won't be familiar with the route.

Parent/adult with child(ren) - One or more adults, riding with one or more kids on their own bikes. Similar requirements to the casual cyclist, also good if there are places to rest and/or play along the way, and it's best to avoid hills (especially for smaller kids who may not have the control over gears and brakes required).

So, the first point is - I don't think any bike route in Melbourne would completely satisfy any of those groups. Every one is a compromise between "Tourist Route" and "Freeway" and "Playground" and so on - by contrast with roads designed around cars, which generally have a single focus and are planned around that. This is what happens when bike routes are an afterthought in a city.

As for me - mostly I fit in the "commuter" category, sometimes I go for recreational rides on weekends (mostly casual, sometimes I get serious), and I imagine in a few years, I'll be the parent with child.

... next post will be on the Koonung Creek Trail.



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