My chosen exercise is surfing.
But the quiet streets of lockdown encouraged a surge of Sydneysiders to grab the lycra and get back onto their bikes, meaning cycling is now more popular than ever before. We take a look at the government’s newly announced plans to build a network of cycle paths here in Sydney’s east.
Cycling is on the up
Thanks to the pandemic, more Sydneysiders are cycling than ever before. A City of Sydney transport report shows that regular cycling within 10 km of the CBD, which includes suburbs like Potts Point, Woolloomooloo and Elizabeth Bay, all the way to Bondi Beach, has increased by more than 50 per cent since 2019.
Cycling grew in appeal throughout lockdown as an alternative to public transport and as a means of exercise at a time when gyms were closed. More than 20 per cent of cyclists surveyed said COVID 19 was the reason they rode, while 60 per cent said they were riding for health purposes. Now that gyms are open again, cycling’s appeal hasn’t waned. In fact, as a sign of the sport’s popularity, there are even more indoor spin studios in the eastern suburbs than ever before. Check out The Jam MVMT in Potts Point, Infinite Cycle in Bondi Junction, Shelter in Double Bay or Flow Athletic in Paddington.
New cycle corridors for eastern Sydney
In April, the state government announced its plans for a network of 30 strategic cycle paths across eastern Sydney. The 250km of cycleways will reach from the northern beaches to Olympic Park and Sutherland, including new corridors here in the eastern suburbs.
The new network has been designed to complete connections missing from Sydney’s current cycleways and link suburban centres with recreation areas like Centennial Park and Bondi Beach to encourage more Sydneysiders to take to their bikes. If you’re familiar with London’s super cycleways, that will give you a sense of what the government is trying to achieve here.
What does it mean for the eastern suburbs?
The plans include a new cycle corridor linking Centennial Park and Moore Park with Bondi Beach and another one connecting Centennial Park and Moore Park to Rose Bay. Randwick and Coogee will be linked by a new cycleway, as will Maroubra Junction and Maroubra Beach and Maroubra Junction and La Perouse.
These new cycle paths will be in addition to the existing network of cycleways currently connecting Sydney CBD, Darlinghurst, Double Bay, Rose Bay, Taylor Square, Moore Park, Centennial Park and Randwick. These eastern Sydney corridors connect to the broader Sydney cycle network to take cyclists to the inner west, north shore and northern beaches.
How cycling benefits our area
Cycling not only benefits the cyclist by increasing fitness and saving money, but it stands to have a significant impact on our local area, too. European data reveal a correlation between the cycle-friendliness of a location and its liveability. Six of the top 10 European countries with the highest quality of life are also among the top 10 European nations with the greatest share of cycling in their total traffic volume, according to the World Resources Institute. The more walkable or cyclable a suburb is, the better quality of life it is considered to provide for its residents.
It makes sense. The more people who choose to cycle, the fewer cars on the road, which leads to less traffic and better air quality – a win for all. When the state government and the City of Sydney rolled out pop-up cycleways throughout Sydney early in the pandemic, including one from Rose Bay to Bondi, cyclists carried out more than 18,000 trips on these new paths each week. The construction of the state government’s new cycle network in eastern Sydney is expected to drive another uptick in cycling in our area, which, based on the European experience, can only be a good thing.
Thinking about getting back on your bike?
Here in the east, we’re lucky enough to have Centennial Parklands on our doorstep, one of the most cycle-friendly places in Sydney. More than 750,000 cyclists ride in and through it every year. Beginners and kids can practise on the Learners Cycleway while recreational riders to serious cyclists roll around the Grand Drive Cycle Lane.
Local bike group BIKEast, which represents bicycle riders in the eastern suburbs, also stage regular social rides and meetups throughout Sydney’s east.
Thinking about buying or selling in Potts Point or Sydney’s eastern suburbs? Get in touch with my team today.