All photos courtesy of Tara for The Urban Country
Bicycling Newcomers is a section on The Urban Country where we profile people who make the switch from other modes of transportation to the efficient, healthy and fun method of bicycling to go about their daily business.
Through our Bicycling Newcomers section, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Tara – a university student in Adelaide, South Australia – who recently made the switch from taking the bus to using a bicycle each day.
Tara works part time as a Project Officer at her university while she completes her Honours degree. She hopes to do a PhD in Psychiatry and Gender studies starting next year.
Through our discussions, I found Tara to be thrilled about her lovely new bicycle and her commute to the university, and Tara was kind enough to share her story along with photos from her daily ride.
Can you believe most of her photos were taken during her “winter” season? Makes a Canadian like me slightly envious.
I asked Tara a few questions about her commute:
How far is your bike commute?
Approximately 6km each way.
What style of bicycle do you use?
Upright bicycle. I ride an Electra Amsterdam Original in powder blue – and her name is Blue Betty!
How did you previously commute before you started using your bicycle for transportation? How long did it take you?
I used to commute by bus which would take approximately 30-40 miserable minutes. The public transport here is terrible – buses are invariably late, overcrowded and I would hate the time I wasted commuting to and from work.
It takes me approximately 20 minutes to commute. When I first started commuting by bike, I was very surprised to learn that cycling can actually be pretty quick. My cycle into the city is much faster than my usual bus trip and I now get home earlier than before.
What triggered your decision to start riding a bike to work?
I fell in love with the idea of cycling before I even got a bike! Once I got Blue Betty, I was hooked and wanted to cycle everywhere. I never actually made a conscious decision to cycle to work, but it was just an extension of my love for cycling and my revulsion for public transport. Oh, and having a super-cute basket also helps in allowing me to always carry me my usual luxuries!
How comfortable is your bike commute? Are there roads that you try to avoid?
I am very lucky as my daily commute is a ride along our River Torrens. Not only can I avoid cars for almost all of my journey, but I also get the pleasure of experiencing lovely views and fresh air.
Cycling slows the world down and demands that surroundings be enjoyed/experienced for what they are.On my daily commute, I have the privilege of spying teeny-tiny baby swans (and be chased away by their protective parents!), cherry blossoms in full bloom and the natural world come to life!
Are you using your bike for other trips besides commuting?
Oh yes, I am a total cycling convert! I try to ride every day and do all of my short journeys by bike. I am lucky to live so close to the city and near shops that I can simply put my belongings and purchases in my basket and off I go!
I used to get really bothered by cyclists whizzing past me with no notice or bell (I’m a pretty slow cyclist!). I have now attached a mirror to my handlebar and feel much more confident in being able to see what is behind me without having to twist around. I also get a bit frustrated with pedestrians that take up the entire cycling path and refuse to move even after being ‘dinged’!
What advice would you give to someone else who is considering making the switch to a bicycle?
Oh wow, cycling is so much fun – it is practical, inspiring, motivating and life-changing! Being a cyclist does not necessarily mean having to belong to the domain of lycra-clad racers (though racers are cool, too). There is also room for us ‘cruisers’ who find enjoyment in embracing the ‘cycle chic’ mantra and asserting our individual style.
Although I am all very new to cycling, I have fallen ridiculously in love with it!
Cycling makes me happy; it makes my skin glow, my mouth smile and my body and mind feel alive and awake!
Have you become an advocate for better infrastructure?
I would like to try! I have just been appointed a cycling ambassador for my university (my place of work and study) and hope to inspire as many people as possible to try out cycling. Hey, if I can do it, then anyone can!