Just incase you missed it. I ride bikes. I ride in all conditions, and I ride everywhere. I don’t do it because I want to get fit, it’s not an environmental issue, I don’t do it for training (most of the time) I ride because that’s what I do. Plus, I don’t have a drivers licence.
When it comes to transport, I have a 1h radius rule. If it takes 1h on the bike I will be faster than public transit. Any more than that and I’ll do part train part ride.
Up until I got my new job , public transport was rare. I would jump on a train to get out of the city for long rides, to get out to Dunc with my track bike, and lightning (it’s not the storm that scares me, it’s all the drivers looking at the storm and not the road that does)
Then, in October I got a job in Penrith. I dreaded the commute. Penrith is the very far edge of Sydney and way to far to ride. First day- caught a train into the city, then train out to the mountains. No riding, it sucked. Second day, rode to Strathfield, had time to spare, grabbed coffee, jumped on a train, Win! It took the same amount of time as the day before (including the bonus coffee!). So the total wins of integrating my riding with a train was: I got to commute the same distance on my bike as my old commute, I got a morning coffee, and 35min to read a book/write nonsense blogs on the train each way. I love my new commute.
As much as Sydney has a bad wrap for bicycles. Traveling on trains with them is actually fairly hassle free. Although you do need to know what you are doing.
City rail, Sydney Trains, Transport NSW (whatever) has two main kinds of trains; City and intercity. The city ones don’t have a dedicated bike area. When traveling on these trains it is best park your bike on the pole in the middle of the vestibule. This way people can move around and you are not taking up all the seats on one side of the courtesy/priority access seats. If you are traveling with a friend, a second bike easily fits if put on the other side in the opposite direction. If you are with a group, you can do 4, but more than that you need to split up into multiple carriages. The Best parking position i have found places the cranks and or saddle on the pole then anchoring the front wheel with your helmet. This method is solid and allows for a gap between the frame and pole, meaning your top tube wont get scratched during the journey.
The intercity trains are a bit more accommodating for bikes. A few carriages have bike hooks. Yay! Sharp metal square bike hooks. Boo! Because of this I always carry something to pad them before I put my bike up. The other downside is they are located in the doorway outside of the main carriage. If your bike is expensive I would invest in a lock. But since I mostly commute on my fixies, I just leave them there and have a quick look at each station.
Got a friend? Yes I do! 2 fixies,one hook… So we stack the bikes together off to one side. Ben is off first, so his bike is on the outside. This only works because the door we block is not in use till after we get to our destinations.
Helpful tips for the train in Sydney.
- everyone, EVERYONE!!!! goes first. remember, if you are taking a bike on public transit, that public transport is public, and in order not to inconvenience anyone, give way to all other passengers.
- Don’t block walkways/doors (especially the ones between carriages)
- When the bike is parked in the city train vestibule keep an eye out for prams, people with bags, older people, and anyone who may have difficulty getting around the bike. identify early and be prepared to move the bike so they can have easy access. Also ask what station they are off at, so you can move to let them off.
- if it’s raining, have a towel so you don’t leave a wet seat
- Avoid peak trains-Most peak Sydney trains are at capacity. The only reason I can commute peak times is, I catch an earlier train, and I’m commuting out of the city in the morning and into it at the end of the day.
- Know the doors- If you take a train regularly know which doors open so you can watch out for entering/exiting passengers. Also so you know if you can do a bike stack on intercity trains. It also helps to know so you can set your bike up when you get on to face the way you’ll be getting off.
- If you see a pram/bike/wheelchair/luggage already in a carriage, go to another one.
- Always be polite, Sydney hates cyclists, and being on public transit, mix that with rude cyclists and rude commuters… just be polite, even if the other person is in the wrong and shoving past you to get to get out the door faster.
for more ‘official’ information check out the Transport NSW website