I find myself a creature of habit on my daily commute. I’ve crafted my route in an ad hoc fashion over four years by trying to identify the shortest route and avoiding conflict points and steep slopes. Â I’ve tested more official â€˜bike-routes’ like the Haslett Street bridge but in all cases I haven’t been convinced to use them.The cases where I have changed my route have all been based on either recommendation or observation. Here are a couple of the changes that I have implemented.
Great North RoadÂ
I picked up this small route change by observing a fellow cyclist. At rush hour the intersection of Great North Rd and Ponsonby Road is a nightmare. There is no room for cyclists and the footpath is way to crowded and narrow to consider using it… This suggested route bypasses the mayhem; but beware, it forces riding against traffic. I wish I had learned this route earlier.
Frankling Rd Alternative Out of the CBD
I work in Freeman Bays. A co-worker recommended this route as an alternative to taking Franklin Rd back uphilll–>Union->Pitt-> K Rd. Again, this route goes against traffic for a spell and I use the wide footpath some of the way; it is much easier than climbing Franklin Rd.
I share these shortcuts to illustrate the value of shared information in relation to both route planning and wider network planning. I am lucky to have been able to copy other riders and to have received good advice. What about newbies? How can we provide better information and support to new riders? Also, how can we share advice when venturing into unknown territory?One tool that I find very interesting is an I-phone app being promoted by Bike Victoria. Once started it logs your route, but I’m not sure how the data is collected and shared. I see tools like this being very valuable for not only informing riders of routes to consider but to get an overall impression of what streets cyclists actually use. This information could then be used to inform network design by identifying barriers (which cyclists understandably avoid), locating preferred natural desire lines and providing a good indication of overall demand.
At the last Bike-to-Work day I suggested to the organisers that they set up a map where people could mark their commute route. They didn’t seem too interested. I know Map My Ride has some similar capabilities but for now it seems like more of a roadie recreational tool. Are there any other resources out there that people are using to get around the city? Are there any shortcuts or recommended routes that you can share?