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Riding out of lockdown: Is this a golden era for cycling?

Millions of people have turned to cycling for safe transport and exercise during the coronavirus outbreak. As lockdown restrictions ease and more people will be returning to work and school, people will need to consider making permanent changes to their choice of transport to keep public transport safe and prevent extreme traffic congestion. For a cycling boom to flourish, improvements in road infrastructure are necessary to keep routes safe, with many cities already making permanent and “pop-up” bike lanes. If cities can accommodate the safety of increased rider numbers, a golden era of cycling can be sustained for the long-term benefit of society. 

Public transport capacity will need to reduce by 85% to keep it safe for essential workers and people who have no other option. A recent report prepared by the Institute for Sensible Transport found that public transport trips in Melbourne will need to drop from 382,000 to 58,000 to meet safe distancing guidelines. Institute for Sensible Transport senior analyst Liam Davies says that “never before in Australia’s history has there been a requirement for peak hour public transport to shed 7 out of every 8 passengers.” He suggests that to reduce peak hour crowds 137,000 commuters will need to avoid PT and 54,000 of those people will need to travel to work by bicycle. 

Switching to cycling will not only make PT safer but prevent unprecedented traffic congestion. Dr. Ben Beck from the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine at Monash University says that “if a significant volume of trips usually taken by public transport is replaced by car-based travel, this will have substantial, and potentially irreversible, negative consequences on the health of our people and the health of our cities.”

A movement towards active modes of transport like cycling will benefit the wellbeing of people and cities as they transition out of lockdown restrictions. But urgent improvements in road infrastructure are necessary to make the switch safe and easy for everyone. Already, Melbourne has seen an increase in rider numbers. Bicycle Network recently recorded thousands of riders, runners, and walkers on various shared paths in Melbourne in a two-hour window and found large increases compared to pre-coronavirus counts. Locally, there was a 221 percent increase on the Capital City Trail, from 219 cyclists in November 2019 to 703 on April 25, 2020. 

Bicycle Network is asking governments to turn roads into cycling-friendly routes to ease the load on busy shared bike paths to ensure safe distancing and encourage people to remain active.” It is essential, and not optional, that we rapidly invest in infrastructure to support healthy and safe walking and cycling,” says Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards. Sydney Road in Brunswick and Chapel Street, South Yarra are great examples of roads that could easily be transformed into a cyclist only routes. “Australia should follow the lead of other countries and quickly create more space to ride separated from vehicles,” says Richards. 

Temporary or “pop-up” bike lanes have facilitated safer transport for riders in cities during the coronavirus crisis.

Temporary bike lanes being propped up in Germany. Photograph: Annegret Hilse/Reuters 

  • In Berlin, bike lanes have been temporarily widened and the Berlin Roads and Parks department have commissioned new lanes to ensure safe distancing between riders and allowing frontline workers a safe way to get to work. 
  • In Ottawa, temporary closure of Queen Elizabeth Driveway (equivalent to Alexandra Parade in Melbourne) to motor vehicle traffic has allowed thousands of active commuters safe space to travel during daytime hours. 
  • In Auckland, 17km of temporary cycle space has been installed to allow a two-meter distance between cyclists and walkers on popular roads. 
  • In Bogota, 47km of temporary bike lanes have opened to reduce PT crowds. 

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp has to be created in the CBD area. Action needs to happen fast to ensure Melbournians have a safe way to commute, with expanded routes also necessary in suburbs outside of the CBD. In a recent poll conducted by RACV asking twitter followers whether they’d like to see pop-up bike lanes in their local area, 94% of respondents said yes. 

Accommodating for active commuters will promote healthy lifestyles and help prevent a resurgence of COVID-19. Scientist David C Nieman says that reducing the risk of COVID-19 should not only involve physical distancing and sanitary measures but “regular-moderate intensity physical activity too”. The safety risks of cycling are minor in comparison to the health benefits. Researchers in the UK found that 100 cyclists are killed in a year as opposed to 100,000 dying of ailments related to inactivity. Even in heavily polluted areas like Beijing and New Delhi, the benefit-risk ratio of commuting by bike is seven-one.

We can all work towards making Melbourne a rider-safe city. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a riding newbie, here are some things you can do help the cycling boom flourish as we transition into the “new normal”:

  • Support bicycle advocacy groups such as We Ride and Bicycle Network that rally for improvements in rider safety and infrastructure. 
  • Write to the Transport Minister and your local Councillors and MPs, letting them know you support safer transport options like cycling.
  • Take extra caution on busy trails by riding slower and ensuring visibility. 
  • Find the bike that suits your needs. For people who live in hilly areas or don’t want to arrive at work sweaty. If you’ve got extra passengers or heavy loads to cart across town, a cargo bike is your ideal car replacement. 
  • Visit your local bike shop for a service to ensure your bike is as safe and easy to ride as possible. 

Our top bike picks for riding out of lockdown: 

The TERN GSD

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Carry 3 extra passengers (and a week’s worth of groceries) through city sprawl. Grocery runs, school pick-ups, day trips – you name it – The Tern GSD replaces the need for a car. 

Kalkhoff Endeavor 1B

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Get from A-B and beyond without breaking a sweat. A longstanding favorite, this e-commuter bike is brimming with quality components for an affordable price. 

Coda S2

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The ultimate Melbourne commuter. Lightweight, sturdy, and built with quality parts, the Coda S2 tackles anything urban commuting throws at it. 

Focus Planet 6.7 

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For effortless commuting, look no further than the Focus Planet 6.7. Our latest arrival, this decked-out bike features dynamo lights that are powered by your pedals.

We offer FREE instructed test rides to take the guesswork out of buying your new bike. A certified riding buddy will help you find the right bike, do any adjustments, and accompany you during your ride. Contact us now to book your FREE instructed test ride:

  1. Bikes 

Email: info@veloelectric.com.au Call: (03) 8488 8929

Regular Bikes 

Email: info@velocycles.com.au Call: (03) 9381 0088

Velo Cycles offers FREE membership to our Velo Love Club when you buy your new bike from us. Benefits include 1hr FREE mechanic servicing per year, 10% parts during your service, priority servicing if you have an emergency, and guaranteed access to loan bikes. Membership is valid for as long as you ride your bike!

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BikeSpot 2020

Supporting the Improvement of Safety for Victorian Cyclists 

Velo Cycles is proud to support BikeSpot 2020, an interactive mapping project aiming to improve the safety of cyclists and work towards making Victoria a world-class cycling location. BikeSpot 2020 follows the original BikeSpot project from 2016 and is a collaboration between  CrowdSpot and the Amy Gillett Foundation, Australia’s leading cycling safety charity. 

BikeSpot lets cyclists, car drivers and pedestrians add a Safe or Unsafe Spots on the map and record their perceptions of safety in specific locations. All submissions are visible so you can vote or comment on other peoples’s spots. The data collected will go the 11 Local Council Partners, VicRoads and the Department of Transport to help prioritise locations for safe cycling infrastructure.

BikeSpot acknowledges that concerns about cycling safety is major barrier for people choosing to ride.

“Collecting and understanding the community perceptions of cycling safety at different locations is incredibly important. Firstly, we know that if you don’t feel safe riding it will have a direct influence on your willingness to ride. Cycling stress (particularly in traffic) is instrumental in influencing the choice to ride. If a single section of a route is perceived to be highly stressful, many will decide not to ride,” says Anthony Aisenberg, Director of CrowdSpot.

You can help contribute to the safety of the Victorian cycling community by submitting your own spot at bikespot2020.crowdspot.com.au, as well as by sharing your submissions by using the hashtag #bikespot2020. 

Find BikeSpot 2020 on Facebook @BikeSpotProject, Instagram @BikeSpot_Project and Twitter @BikeSpotProject. 

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Jamis Sequel 2020 Review

It’s the sequel you’ve all been waiting for: Introducing the Jamis Sequel 2020.

Need a do-it-all commuter bike that’s fit to tackle weekend adventuring? Then look no further than the Jamis Sequel commuter bike! With 650x47mm wheels, custom mountain bike style geometry, easy access mounts and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, the Jamis Sequel handles anything that urban sprawl throws at it plus tougher trails if you’re hit with the adventure bug. 

The Sequel stands apart from its predecessor (and long standing customer favourite) the Jamis Coda, a reliable yet simpler commuter series spec-wise. 

Here’s why we think you’ll love the Jamis Sequel just as much as we do:

Speedy and comfortable tires

Jamis Sequel 2020

The 650x47mm wheels are smaller than the Sequel’s cousin Coda and make for a more comfortable ride that doesn’t sacrifice on pace. The wider tires absorb a lot more reverb, making tougher terrain cinch. 

Custom geometry

Jamis Sequel 2020

Similar to a mountain bike frame, the Jamis Sequel features a steel Jamis Size Specific Design frame with a short stem making it swift and super fun to ride. Available in 15”, 17”, 21” and 23” sizes, the cunning commuter suits all riders and their chosen terrain. 

Easy access mounts

Jamis Sequel 2020

The wide variety of fork and frame mounts are positioned externally for easy use and accessibility. You can choose to mount fenders, rear carriers, low-rider carriers (cages, water bottle, storage) plus three front triangle water bottles. With a total of 22kg weight carrying capacity you’ll be equipped for all trips and weather conditions. 

Hydraulic disc brakes

Jamis Sequel 2020

With self-adjusting Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, changing gears on the Jamis Sequel is easier than in a car. Quick-stopping, reliable and low maintenance, Shimano brakes are top of the range and always get a gold star approval from our mechanics!

NOTEWORTHY SPECS

  • Frame: Jamis Size Specific Design frame geometry, Reynolds 520 double-butted chromoly main tubes, threaded BB shell, chain stay disc brake mounts, 12mm thru-axle , FD mount, dropper post ready, 3 waterbottle mounts, TT mounts, rack and fender eyelets
  • Fork: Jamis Chromoly fork, 12mm thru-axle dropouts, 45mm crown, IS mount disc brakes, fender, lowrider and water bottle eyelets
  • Wheels: WTB ST i23 TCS 2.0 (UST Tubeless Compliant System) disc rims, 32H, Formula alloy 6-bolt sealed bearing hubs, 14g black stainless steel spokes and front 12mm/ rear 12×142 thru-axle with Switch Lever
  • Tires: WTB Byway Tire with DNA compound, 650 x 47c
  • Chain: KMC X10
  • Cassette: Shimano CS-HG500, 10-speed, 11-42T
  • Pedals: Platform style, alloy
  • Brakeset: Shimano BR-MT200 hydraulic disc brakes with resin pads, Shimano 160mm stainless 6-bolt rotors and Shimano BLMT200 levers

Time to take it for a spin?

If you’re ready to make friends with the superstar commuter Jamis Sequel, you can book in for a sanitised and fully-instructed test tide with one of our trusty Velo team members! We’ll help you with adjustments, supply you with a helmet and accompany you during your test ride. To book call (03) 93810088.

FREE Velo Pro Delivery

During lockdown restrictions, you can get your Jamis Sequel delivered FREE by a VELO PRO who will personally deliver your new bike to your door (plus accessories), and help with adjustments so that your new bike fits perfectly. 

VELO LOVE CLUB

If you purchase a new bike with us, you’ll receive FREE membership to our VELO LOVE CLUB (valued over $500). Benefits include:

  • 1hr mechanic servicing per year. 
  • 10% off bike parts during your service. 
  • Priority service if you have an emergency. 
  • Guaranteed access to loan bikes. 
  • Members only shopping nights. 

Velo Cycles: 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North. Open Mon-Fri 8-5.30, Sat 10-4.

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10 Tips for Bike Riding During Coronavirus Lockdown

Good news: you can still go cycling during coronavirus lockdown! 

During coronavirus lockdown, cycling is still deemed an essential mode of transport and form of exercise. Group rides and cycling events are currently not allowed, but there are still many ways to enjoy bike riding. Lacking motivation? Not sure about the rules? We’ve put together this list of tips for riding safely amid coronavirus to help you stay healthy and fall in love with cycling even more. 

1. Get your bike into shape.

Before you ride, ensure that your tires are inflated properly, and that your brakes, gears and drive chain are in good condition. If you haven’t ridden for a while, we’d recommend booking a service with your local bike shop. 

2. Change your riding routine.

Turn your daily ride into a treat rather than a chore. If you’re working from home, instead of riding to and from work you could schedule a ride during your lunch break to get your blood pumping and keep energies up for the rest of the day. If you need to run essential errands, incorporate a bike ride – it’s the most efficient mode of travel to ensure social distancing whilst getting your daily dose of exercise. 

3. Practice social distancing.

Even when you’re riding, social distancing is a must – always stay 1.5m away from other riders in front or beside you. It’s best to stop as little as possible during your ride, but if you do take a break, be aware of where you place your helmet, lock and drink bottle to avoid the spread of germs. Smiling is still allowed!

4. Explore new routes.

Keep things interesting by exploring new bike trails or routes in your local area. Pre-planning new adventures will help you keep up the momentum during lockdown. 

5. Be mindful. 

Practicing mindfulness can help you ease stress and get the most out of your ride. If you’re touring off-road, calm your thoughts by focusing on your breath and the scenery around you. If the ride gets tough, positive self-talk goes a long way. “Keep going!” “You can do this” “You’re doing great!”

6. Be safe.

Safety is always a priority, particularly when there may be less riders around you. Be sensible – always ride with a helmet, and don’t ride if you’re feeling sick. During this time, we’d recommend sanitising your bike after each ride. 

7. Stay social.

Even when you’re social distancing, there are ways to stay connected. Keep in contact with your riding buddies by sharing your progress on social media and recommending new trails. You can use this time to plan future riding trips to look forward to once social distancing restrictions are lifted. 

8. Get strong

Time to work on those calves, quads and glutes! If you’ve got some extra time on your hands, make the most of it by increasing your strength at home. We love this quick workout video from Olympic cyclist Kaarle McCulloch. 

9. Pimp your ride.

Whether you need panniers and lights for emergency shopping trips or want to show off some flair on the bike trail, why not spend time making your prized beast as flash as possible? At Velo Cycles, we’ve got a range of accessories available to help with essential errands. Or check out these ideas if you’re feeling a little more creative! 

10. Just keep riding!

Don’t give up now! During the coronavirus outbreak, public health officials are advising that regular bike riding is one of the best things you can do to stay safe and healthy. Why? It keeps you from being sedentary, boosts your immune system, eases mental stress and helps you achieve essential travel and errands. 

YES, WE ARE OPEN

At Velo Cycles, we’re still offering our full range of service options, and our certified mechanics are implementing extra sanitary measures. Click here to book a service, or give us a call on (03) 9381 0088. 

Please note our NEW trading hours: Mon-Fri 8am-5.30pm, Sat 10am-4pm. 

Need an upgrade? If you purchase a new bike from us, we’re offering FREE delivery to anyone located within a 5km radius of our Carlton North store. A VELO PRO will personally deliver your new bike (and accessories) to your door, and help you with adjustments to make sure bike fits perfectly!

Plus, if you buy your bike from us, you’ll receive FREE membership to Velo Love Club (valued over $500), including 1hr FREE mechanic servicing per year for the lifetime of your bike. Other benefits include free access to loan e-bikes, priority servicing and members only discounts. View our range here.

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THE BIKE SHOP YOU CAN COUNT ON: RIDER STATS ON THE CAPITAL CITY TRAIL

You may have noticed it outside our shop: a monitor that counts the number of cyclists that go past on the @Capital City Bike Trail. Installed by the @Moreland City Council in 2013, it helps us keep track of changes in rider traffic.

Each year there’s been a fairly steady increase of riders going past, but this year there’s been some changes in the stats.

January saw a 26% decrease from last year. Closure on the bike trail and poor air quality from bushfires would have contributed to the drop.

February was also a little quiet with 4% less riders than last year.

This month the numbers have picked right back up. Since we began counting in 2013, March has been the busiest month of the year, with numbers always topping above 100,000. March marks the end of summer cruising and time for uni students to click back into gear. The cooler weather is also a great excuse to get pedaling and blood pumping.

SUPER TUESDAY is the first Tuesday of March, and has consistently been the busiest riding day of the year. Last Tuesday, the numbers topped the charts with a whopping 5,263 people riding past.

There’s one day that has us all a little puzzled. On the 15th of Feb 2020 only 981 cyclists rode past, that’s less than ¼ of the daily average. Has it got something to do being right after Valentines day? It’s a bike riding mystery that’s yet to be solved.

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Wombats and Bicycles | Velo Cycles Melbourne

It’s time, here at Velo, that we tackle one of the big issues that has gripped the cycling world in recent times-wombats and the threat they pose to cyclists. Let us explore this matter with a couple of anecdotes.

Our assistant manager Ollie was riding the Great Victorian Rail Trail the other week – in the dark – when he had a run-in with one of these ground-hogging balls of muscle. It came flying out of the bushes – our theory is that it was startled by Ollie’s sudden presence-and slammed into his rear derailleur, the most fragile part of the bike. The derailleur then went into the spokes but somehow-and I’m really stressing this somehow because it really is quite miraculous-the derailleur remained attached to the frame and only broke one spoke.

They were flying down a hill – the steepest on the ride – when the waddlesome, furry outline of a wombat suddenly appeared in the ghostly light of their headlamps

Considering Ollie’s bike was laden with panniers, and that he was moving along rather smartly (due to his thunder thighs and huge aerobic capacity), it’s amazing the result wasn’t worse. Usually when a derailleur finds the spokes it is caught in the wheel, ripped violently from the frame and spun around until it is stopped by the chain or a seat stay. It then tears through spokes like a hot knife through butter until the bike comes to a skidding stop. At this point the rider then mutters something like “bugger me” and carries her bike home.

But the damage to Ollie’s bike was minor, and he was thus able to limp on to his grandmother’s place further along where he and one of our former mechanics, Omar, spent a couple of days drinking whisky and building a fence.

Troublingly, this isn’t the only wombat-related incident experienced by one of our staff members. One of our sales team, Peter, was out riding with a mate one night on the Main Yarra Trail. They were flying down a hill – the steepest on the ride-when the waddlesome, furry outline of a wombat suddenly appeared in the ghostly light of their headlamps. Totally oblivious to the speeding riders, the wombat continued onto the path in front of them, prompting white-knuckled evasive action from the riders.

“Sh******t,” said Peter, as he whizzed by a couple of inches from the wombat’s nose.
“F************k!”said Peter’s mate, who whizzed by a couple of inches from the wombat’s tail.
If either of them had collided with the wombat, things would not have been pretty. Wombats are so solid you’d be better off slamming into a pile of bricks. There would have been bent forks, crumpled front wheels and a jolly old trip over the bars. Fortunately, no people or wombats were hurt in this near-miss.

These two incidents clearly point to a concerning and widespread increase of Wombat run-ins across the state. As always, Velo Cycles are take the interests of cyclists and native animals to heart, and we are now lobbying the state government to introduce mandatory helmet laws for all marsupials. The picture below is from a preliminary trial of new wombat helmets.

An image from wombat helmet product testing

That being said – at least we don’t have to deal with these!