Beating the cycling 'fear factor'

Last updated 05:00 18/05/2014

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What's it like to be a cyclist in New Zealand? Alison Hale says it's all about finding the right route.

I find cycling around the main streets of Christchurch scary despite the cycle lanes, although when I was able to cycle to work, I would work out a route I was relatively comfortable with.

Despite the fear factor, I find this the most enjoyable way of getting around, and I'd dearly love to bike to work more often.

I had a great route to my current workplace before the February 2011 quake, which consisted of a cross-country type of route, using suburban streets, walkways, and a foot bridge. It was longish but wonderfully hassle-free. I worked out this route with a careful study of street maps and a hint or two from a cycle shop.

The quake put an end to the walkway and the footbridge (still not replaced), and without these, my route is no longer so fear-free, and much too long.

For those who want to commute by bike but are afraid, just see if you can get there using roads without heavy traffic, even if it takes some thought and experimentation.

Off-road cycle paths on some busy roads would be terrific, but are not always practical.

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