It is hard to hold the pages of my notebook while writing. The wind is blowing fast and roars at the back of my head. I am sitting alongside Ross river, on a bench, under a tree, and somewhere between the suburbs of Railway Estate and Rosslea. The birds are chirping, the sky is mostly blue. My view at the front, the hill of Mount Stuart with cotton like clouds on top. I am resting after riding our bicycles from the city.
While I sat on the bench, I thought why don't I write something about my experience riding my bicycle around Townsville, about the health benefits and positive outcomes that riding brings to the environment?
So here it is, the hobbits on bikes, around Townsville...
We went to Sunday's Cotter's market and decided to ride our bikes from Mundingburra to the city. The distance from Mundingburra to the city is 5.9 km via the Ross River trail and takes around 20 minutes one way. So not that long really, and I wonder...
Why more people don't ride their bikes in Townsville?
We have been in Townsville for more than three years and the first thing we did was getting two bicycles, one with a child seat, and another one to put a child trailer on. Then we got a car of course. But the bikes were first. On our first ride, we discovered the amazing bike track along the river but to my surprise, I didn't notice many people riding. And ever since, I have been noticing the same.
Why aren't many people riding bikes in Townsville?
In other parts of the world, in some countries in Europe, riding a bike is quite common. People do it all the time and even in the cold of winter. It is a normal routine.
So why people don't ride a bike in Townsville? ...
Is it because of the weather? Yes, sure it is hot but is that really the reason? because we do and we are not weird people, we are a normal family. We ride our bikes on daily basis. We take our children to school on bikes. We go to work on our bicycles. I even do shopping with my bike (well not all the time).
Why do I ride a bike, if I could use a car? My short answer to this: I don't like driving so I avoid cars. I find driving quite stressful, perhaps because I grew up in a chaotic capital city. People don't drive properly, there is traffic jams that make you stay in one spot for a long time. Getting anywhere in the city was a daunting experience. Perhaps, I am traumatised. I don't know.
I like riding my bike because it makes me feel connected with nature. I like the feeling of the fresh air blowing into my face and looking at the scenery. While riding, I observe the world around me. It gives me another perspective of my surroundings. Perhaps this is the reason why I get so many creative ideas for writing, scientific experiments and songs while I ride my bike. I makes me feel relaxed.
I also like riding my bike because of the obvious health benefits. I am not a sporty person. I never fit time into my schedule for exercising so riding my bike has been a way of me getting some movement in my body. Sometimes I ride over ten km a day! and this is only to get to places around the city.
I like riding for recreational purposes and Townsville has an amazing bicycle track which connects the entire city and keeps you clear of cars (and people using mobile phones while driving them). From Rasmussen all the way to the city and along Ross river. I just love the views along the river, and you can stop at some shady place and have a picnic. I like going to parks and playgrounds with my little hobbits on a bike.
Finally, I like riding my bike because I believe I am helping the environment. The average Australian emits a lot of greenhouse gases, with a lot of this coming from transport, basically from using our vehicles all the time!!! In fact according to NDEVR Environmental, Australia had the highest carbon emission on record last year, see https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/11/australias-transport-emissions-in-past-year-the-highest-on-record.
If we all start thinking about how much gases we are releasing to the environment and stop adding more, we can contribute to cleaner air. So why not leave the car at home more often and ride your bicycle to work, the park or to go shopping?
I am not saying we don't use our car, we do. Thanks to our car we get to amazing places in North Queensland. But why not reducing the use of our car more? Imagine how much cleaner the air would be, and how less the roads would be congested in your city if everyone allocated a day or two to using a bike instead of a car!
Always thinking on ways on helping the environment.