It’s Friday and instead of training before work I have to ride my motorbike into the city through commuter traffic and driving rain. I want to get in a bike session to give my legs a chance to recover from yesterday’s half marathon so I decide to do something a bit different: I decide to hire a City Cycle bike to ride along the Brisbane River.
The rain is incessant but that’s not going to stop me enjoying my ride. I use my mobile phone to set up a 24 hour subscription to the City Cycle scheme; it only costs $2. I change out of my work clothes and visit my partner at her work to put my work gear in her car. The I buy a pair of rain pants, don my rain coat and walk to the nearest City Cycle station where I hire a bike. The system is simple to use – I enter my subscription code and PIN, nominate the bike I want to use, put on the bright yellow City Cycle scheme helmet that’s sitting in the bike’s basket and head off down the road on my little afternoon adventure.
I start with a tour through the City Botanic Gardens. A few hardy joggers run through the gardens and some tourists with umbrellas take playful photos at some of the statues along the river. I admire the beautiful yachts moored on the river as I ride. I follow the shared walk/bikeway along the river past the yachts and down past the Eagle Street sky scrapers to the Story Bridge.
Unfortunately the river walk was washed away in last year’s floods so I have to ride up a steep lane to the top of the river’s banks. I have to stand on the pedals with the bike in its lowest gear to make it up the climb but I manage. The City Cycle bikes have three internal hub gears that are perfect for inner-city riding. The smallest gear is easy enough to climb the few hills around the city while the other two gears enable easy river-side and street cruising.
By the time I reach the Sydney Street River Cat terminal I’m soaked in sweat. I’m wearing the shirt I want to wear to dinner tonight under my rain jacket and it’s soaked. I park my bike in the City Cycle station. I need to return it every half hour so that I can continue to ride for free. I have to wait two minutes before I can take another bike out so I stand under the shelter at the River Cat terminal. I take off my shirt and pull my raincoat back on over my bare torso in the hope that I can stop my shirt from getting totally disgusting. I roll it up in the pocket of my raincoat.
My two minutes over I take another bike out of the City Cycle station and follow the river through New Farm to Teneriffe. It takes about fifteen minutes to follow the bike/walkway along the river past more yachts then down to New Farm Park. The bikeway here is covered in debris from the recent rains. I pick my way through it. Once I reach the Powerhouse the bike/walkway is raised higher so it’s clear from debris and a pleasure to follow all the way to Tenneriffe.
I swap bikes again at Teneriffe before returning to the Botanic Gardens. The ride was a pleasure despite the driving rain and sweaty heat. The bikes I used were all in excellent condition and fully functioning. I was able to adjust the seat height easily to suit me and the gears all worked. I managed a 75 minute ride. I’m not sure my speed and, while I could easily use maps to determine how far I rode I’m not too worried because sometimes training should just be about the fun of being active.
I realise it’s not cool to use the City Cycle but I don’t know why not. It’s convenient, simple to use and a great way to sneak in a bit of exercise for just $2 a day, $11 a week or $60 a year. The only catch is that you have to pay once you have a bike for more than 30 minutes but to avoid the cost you can return the bike to any City Cycle station, wait 2 minutes and take another bike out for up to 30 minutes.