Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thinking about cycling

I've been having a wee dream about biking to work in the coming weeks. This oblique Google Earth map shows two alternative routes from Bottle Lake to the University. They both start at upper right by going along Prestons Rd then left on Marshland Rd to the QE2 Drive roundabout. Here I use two bike/pedestrian crossings to go west on QE2 drive, then the two routes diverge.

Route 1, labelled 11.5 for the distance it takes, turns left off QE2 and follows Innes Rd, as it becomes Heaton St and Glandovey Rd, meeting Fendalton Rd a few blocks from University. Route 2 is 14km, following QE2 across to Northcote, where it meets the cycle path along the railway, meeting Fendalton Rd then going on to work.

Why would I take the longer route? Because Innes Rd, although it is direct, doesn't have marked cycle lanes, so cyclists bike between the traffic and the parked cars, with lots of side roads joining the slow moving traffic stream. The risk of open car doors, sudden left turners, and pushy side-road Porsche Cayenne drivers is very high. (We are talking about Fendalton, after all.) It also has two very dodgy roundabouts, with no side paths for cyclists, so I'd have to mix it with me-first rush hour traffic, with drivers trying to turn a two lane road into three lanes at some corners. They even drive up over the footpaths!

The 14km route, on the other hand, has dedicated cycle paths beside QE2 Drive all the way to the railway, then another cycle path dead straight all the way to Fendalton Rd, where it follows well marked cycle lanes till the turn off at Fendalton Park, and to the University around the corner.

Is safety worth another 2km on my ride each way? Probably. It will also allow me to go at a higher average speed so the time will probably be about the same, and I'm mostly going to wear bike clothes and change at work, so it will be more like a fitness ride than my old commute through town and Hagley Park.

Anyway, first I need to build up some proper strength and endurance, so more practice biking is required.

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