Years ago I did some work in Munich. Our office was in the centre of town and my hotel (if you could call it that) was just outside the central business district – but rather than catching a can each day, I thought I’d try cycling.
At the front of the hotel was a bike rack with bikes that could be hired by the day, hour or week. Once you had setup an online account, the bikes could be unlocked remotely via text message. And the best thing was that you could stop “renting” the bike just by relocking it into one of the many racks scattered throughout the city. It was brilliant and supremely convenient.
But most importantly, it changed the nature of the relationship that I had with the city. Rather than rushing from point A to point B, I was able to breathe in the architecture and style of the city. I could see the people and the way they lived. I felt part of a living landscape – and years later I still feel an affinity with the city.
This is partly why I am so excited to see Sydney’s cycleways threading through the CBD. Sure there are great, environmental reasons why they are a good idea – but beyond this, it is about reimagining and recasting the way we relate to the city. It’s about what it means to live, work and thrive in a city like Sydney.
Over on the SBS Cycling Central site is a great interview with City of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore. She talks about a grander vision – of a larger cycleway network within the City of Sydney, connecting with other shires across Sydney. But she also talks about what it means to live in a city and how we need to own and design the city that we want to live in. And that is something that we should all share in.