ON BOARD: An Eco Surf Supplies cork surfboard.
ON BOARD: An Eco Surf Supplies cork surfboard. CONTRIBUTED

Forget the SUV and get on your bike

IT'S amazing what you can carry on a bicycle.

Back in the day when I lived on Sydney's northern beaches, my then trusty old mountain bike had a rack which enabled me to carry a surfboard.

A small basket on front took care of the towel and sunblock while any board from my quiver from a light little 7-footer through to my 9'2" longboard was easily transported along the beachfront from South Manly up to Queenscliff, down to Fairy Bower or even to beaches further along the coast.

As anyone who has ever tried to a) find a car park and then b) almost fainted at the high price to park at a Sydney beach for more than five minutes will appreciate how great it was to avoid traffic snarls, parking rage as someone else tried to snaffle your spot - not to mention the expense.

And I'll admit, I did feel a very slight sense of smugness as I serenely cycled past all the folks searching in vain for somewhere to park their $100,000 SUV.

Later when I moved up the coast to North Avalon I would cycle to the nearby beaches and occasionally use the L90 bus to Palm Beach (for some reason the drivers were fine about me taking a longboard on the journey but not a bicycle).

Then when I moved to a little surf town on the Victorian south-west coast I would ride my bike down the Great Ocean Road to catch a few waves.

Riding back up the hill was always a challenge - my old longboard was getting a bit water-logged by then - but in winter it meant I'd keep warm.

And during the busy school holidays or when the Bells Beach Pro came to town I could again duck and weave up and down back streets and avoid the long, long lines of traffic.

Now we are based in Lismore, it's way too far for me to carry a board on two wheels to get to the surf, but riding to the local CBD is still my favourite method of transport.

Being able to chain up a bike outside the library and then run your errands is great.

You can walk around town without fear you'll get booked for outstaying your welcome.

And most of the drivers are very courteous, although some pedestrians need to look up from their phones more often when crossing the street.

But that's another column.


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