One of the focal points of Bike Week is the Ride to Work Day breakfast, which has something for everybody involved in cycling in the CBD: everybody gets a free breakfast, politicians get to tout their cycling credentials, BQ, BUGS and government agencies get some exposure for themselves and what they’re doing, regular cyclists get to meet and have a chat to each other, lapsed cyclists have a reason to get back on the bike and, most importantly, new cyclists get some encouragement and help in discovering how to use their bikes to get to work.
The event sponsors provided the usual fruit, buns, cereal, juice, flavoured milk, coffee and sausages, which were popular as always. Other sponsors provided a bike, bags and other prizes. Numbers seemed a little down compared to previous years, but there were still more than enough bikes to fill BQ’s large bike racks and every other available space in King George Square. As is often the case there was a lot of lycra and carbon fibre on display as well as other evidence that Brisbane’s cycle commuting culture is still dominated by the sports side of cycling rather than the more utilitarian culture of places where cycling is more prevalent.
Premier Anna Bligh had some bold words, proclaiming that “world cities are cycling cities”, explaining that cities where one can around easily by foot and on bike are world class cities. She even went as far as declaring that “two wheels are better than four”, and mentioned the $600 million the State Government has allocated to spend over 20 years on cycling infrastructure, as well as the upcoming Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress to be hosted in Brisbane later this year.
Lord Mayor Campbell Newman talked about the $100 million his Council has been spending over its current four-year term, and called on cyclists to be vocal in standing up against public criticism of spending money on cycling. He encouraged cyclists to make their opinion heard in online and traditional media in order to counter short-sighted attacks by others.
CBD BUG again had a tent at the event and made use of it to attract new members, to explain to people who we are and what we do, and to listen to feedback and hear about issues that cyclists have. Recruitment was a little down on previous years, perhaps because we are already more widely known among CBD cyclists, and perhaps because general attendance also seemed to be a bit down. Of course, if you know somebody who cycles within, to or through the city and isn’t already a member, please suggest to them that they might want to join, as a larger membership really helps us to get the attention we need from elected representatives and other decision-makers.
And now, on with the rest of Bike Week…