‘Reality Bites – Bike Week special’ – Cycling: Are we pedalling or connecting?

Last night I played netball. We didn’t win. The blokes on the competing team were big, tall and they trod on our feet! But for me it’s not about the winning. It’s about the taking part, the team spirit and connecting with lots of different people.

I think that perhaps cycling might be one part of the answer in connecting our communities.

Earlier this week I met Michael. He’s a Government advisor and very passionate about sharing skills and knowledge. Michael reckons that our car dependency and our low-density large block master-planned suburbs have broken down our ability to share knowledge, and have eroded the opportunities to collaborate and removed the opportunities to innovate.

I reckon Michael’s right.

On my second day living in Berlin I got a bike. I biked everywhere; to work, to Aldi, to the swimming pool and the market, to see friends, to parties and even to fancy art gallery openings. I connected with my community. I knew the guy who ran the laundrette, the butcher and the baker. I knew everyone in my apartment block within a week because I saw them each and every morning and evening at the cycle parking stands.

And so here’s the thing. Are we pedalling or are we really connecting?

Last Sunday saw the ‘all time world record’ – for us – participation in Lazy Sunday Cycle. More than 60 people rode their bicycles along the beachfront from Sandgate to Redcliffe as part of the Brisbane bike week festivities. For many Lazy Sunday Cyclers the ‘value’ is in making new friends, connecting with different people and getting out and about in their community. It’s more about the connecting than the actual pedalling.

And here’s the thing. How often do you see a lone lycra cyclist? With the exception of my crazy friend Craig who cycles from Brisbane to the Gold Coast every Sunday morning on his own, it seems to me that ‘Lycra equals Lots’. They ride in groups, they connect with friends and they share experiences. Like they say cycling is the new golf. The peloton is the new networking forum and the post ride coffee shop is the new board room!

So here in Australia, as we face many modern challenges; mortgage poverty, rising food costs and mass redundancies we need to connect our communities, we need combine our contacts, we need to collaborate to innovate and we all need communicate our knowledge. So then perhaps pedalling might just be one of the answers to connect our communities.

What do you think?