You can't fail to be aware that we are in Bike Wise month with the many events being organised and reported on in Whanganui to support it.

The various organisers, in particular the Whanganui Bicycle Users' Group, should be applauded for their efforts in promoting cycling in the community. In this they are well backed by the Whanganui District Council.

We are fortunate that Whanganui has an extensive network of cycleways and roads that, in the main, are safe to ride on.

Beyond the city limits, the story is different. I live 2 km outside Whanganui on No 2 Line and travel in and out of town by car several times a week. Many of these trips are feasible by bike. Some months ago, a friend gave me a bike as a thank you. Growing up in the UK, cycling was an important means of transport for me and continued to be so until I bought my first car at the age of 25.

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I was excited about getting back to cycling and reducing my car dependence. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out this way and I feel a sense of guilt that I haven't acted out my good intentions. I have only used my bike on a few occasions.

My main reason for not cycling more often is that the No 2 Line has a 100 km/h speed imit — from just past the Durie Hill School — and the road has no shoulder or cycleway. Cars and other vehicles speed along up to and even above the limit. A few intrepid cyclists regularly cycle along No 2 Line, and I admire their grit and courage.

Unfortunately, I'm not yet one of them. On the few occasions that I have cycled along this road, I have felt uneasy and as if I was taking my life into my own hands. A few weeks ago, I was scared witless by two utes that drove past in quick succession without warning and leaving me with almost no room. It was a windy day and I didn't hear them approaching above the rustle of the wind.

I shudder to think what would have happened if I'd been unable to maintain my balance and had swerved slightly or wobbled at that moment. I have not felt confident to ride along the road since. I'm not even really fazed by the steep climb up Durie Hill; in any event, there is the option of using the Durie Hill Elevator.

No 2 Line is possibly one of the worst of the arterial roads into Whanganui for cyclists, but many of the other roads into the city also present similar challenges.

My wish is that roads within a 5km radius of the city limits should have a dedicated cycleway. On stretches of road where this is impractical, the speed limit should be set at no more than 70 km/h.

This would make cycling more accessible to out-of-town residents and safer. I feel that CONTRASTING: City cycleways and roads are good and, for the most part, safe for riders. The open road, however, still holds fears — and very real risks — for cyclists.PHOTO/FILE
YOU can't fail to be aware that we are in Bike Wise month with the many events being organised and reported on in Whanganui to support it.

The various organisers, in particular the Whanganui Bicycle Users' Group, should be applauded for their efforts in promoting cycling in the community. In this they are well backed by the Whanganui District Council.

We are fortunate that Whanganui has an extensive network of cycleways and roads that, in the main, are safe to ride on.

Beyond the city limits, the story is different. I live 2 km outside Whanganui on No 2 Line and travel in and out of town by car several times a week. Many of these trips are feasible by bike. Some months ago, a friend gave me a bike as a thank you. Growing up in the UK, cycling was an important means of transport for me and continued to be so until I bought my first car at the age of 25.

I was excited about getting back to cycling and reducing my car dependence. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out this way and I feel a sense of guilt that I haven't acted out my good intentions. I have only used my bike on a few occasions.

My main reason for not cycling more often is that the No 2 Line has a 100 km/h speed imit — from just past the Durie Hill School — and the road has no shoulder or cycleway. Cars and other vehicles speed along up to and even above the limit. A few intrepid cyclists regularly cycle along No 2 Line, and I admire their grit and courage.

Unfortunately, I'm not yet one of them. On the few occasions that I have cycled along this road, I have felt uneasy and as if I was taking my life into my own hands. A few weeks ago, I was scared witless by two utes that drove past in quick succession without warning and leaving me with almost no room. It was a windy day and I didn't hear them approaching above the rustle of the wind.

I shudder to think what would have happened if I'd been unable to maintain my balance and had swerved slightly or wobbled at that moment. I have not felt confident to ride along the road since. I'm not even really fazed by the steep climb up Durie Hill; in any event, there is the option of using the Durie Hill Elevator.
By David Hughes

No 2 Line is possibly one of the worst of the arterial roads into Whanganui for cyclists, but many of the other roads into the city also present similar challenges.

My wish is that roads within a 5km radius of the city limits should have a dedicated cycleway. On stretches of road where this is impractical, the speed limit should be set at no more than 70 km/h.

This would make cycling more accessible to out-of-town residents and safer. I feel that cycling on rural roads is currently reserved for only a band of intrepid pioneers.

I shall be supporting the National Go By Bike Day event at the Cornmarket Reserve near Dublin St Bridge on Wednesday, February 14 between 7am and 9am. I shall arrive by bike. However, even if this slightly defeats the event's purpose, I will have previously driven by car along No 2 Line before parking up at a convenient location to ride the remaining distance to the event. I look forward to enjoying the breakfast on offer and also to the offer of a free bike check by Green Bikes.

I shall be supporting the National Go By Bike Day event at the Cornmarket Reserve near Dublin St Bridge on Wednesday, February 14 between 7am and 9am. I shall arrive by bike.

However, even if this slightly defeats the event's purpose, I will have previously driven by car along No 2 Line before parking up at a convenient location to ride the remaining distance to the event. I look forward to enjoying the breakfast on offer and also to the offer of a free bike check by Green Bikes.