ABC Online: Cycling convert says riding saves him time
6 years ago Murray Gomm threw away his car keys and started riding to work. “I just got quite guilty,” he says. “We had two cars and we’d go separately and it just seemed to be all wrong.” He says becoming a commuting cyclist was “a fantastic opportunity to get some exercise on the way to work”. “It was just making exercise a part of my day,” he says. “It was a way to help the hip pocket and have a few less of those greenhouse gases going up there.”
How long was his ride? “About 11 kilometres,” he says.
“It was a fantastic little ride,” says Murray. “It took only about 25 minutes and when you think about it in the car it was taking me 15, so I was actually saving time because I didn’t have to drive in, drive out and then go and get some exercise. I was getting more efficiency out of my day as well.”
Murray is the spokesperson for the Albany Bicycle Users Group, who rode to the ABC studios for National Ride to Work Day.
Morning Show producer Clare Valley and her son Jack led the charge up the hill to the studios from the meeting point at Middleton Beach.
John and Helen Lewis joined in the ride, although they weren’t on bicycles. Instead they rode their recumbent tricycles, which they say aren’t as awkward as they look.
“They’re extremely comfortable in fact because you’ve got your own armchair along with you,” says John. “Most people are quite concerned because they look at you and say ‘golly look how close you are to the road’ what we’ve found of course is that motorists notice us more because we’re quite unusual and give us plenty of room.”
They say that once you get the hang of it the recumbent trikes are a great way to get around.
“You’ve got the seat back to work against,” says John. “The trick with the recumbent tricycles is to spin so you get the speed of your peddling up. You spin your legs much more rapidly. We would normally peddle at 80 or more revolutions per minute. That way you take the strain off your knees but you also have the power.”
“None the less we’re slower up hills because you can’t use our weight by standing on the pedals,” he says. “The tricycles have 72 gears and we can get down very low and the snails pass us as we’re travelling up the hill.”
Murray says now is the perfect time of year to make the switch to pedal power.
“Certainly with winter when it’s dark and black and bleak rolling over and snuggling up does seem to be a better option,” says Murray. “This time of year is a good time to have a mid-year New Year’s resolution and start again. The days are just fantastic at the moment and down at Middleton Beach was just superb so you realise that getting out and amongst it is the way to go.”
He says it can be tough at first, especially in a hilly place like Albany.
“Clare was certainly huffing and puffing,” he says. However, Murray reckons that after a few weeks “you forget that the hills are there”.
“I just like getting on the road and cycling and seeing if can beat a few cars along the way,” he says.