Wednesday 29 January 2014

The European Bicycle Circle: No Lycra Required...

Photo European Bicycle Circle (From Left to Right: Sue Gold, Giles Ramsay-Chapman, Suzy Ramone, Andrew Napier, Michelle, Grace, Paul Hellander)

The European Bicycle Circle is all about style over speed explains Paul Hellander. Here's how the group began riding.

A car driver friend I bumped into at the traffic lights on Henley Beach Rd whilst  riding my bicycle recently observed to me ‘so you are a cyclist, then.’ I looked at him in mock astonishment and replied ‘wow, and you are a motorist!’ He was taken aback until I pointed out that my status in society was no more determined by the mode of transport I commonly use than the car that he drove determined his status. He finally got the point when I pointed out the absurdity of calling a bus, train or tram user ‘a public transportist’. Touché.

With this mindset uppermost in my own thinking the European Bicycle Circle was formed in October 2012: the establishment of a group of citizens of our city who used their bicycle as an integral part of their life – to travel to work, to shop, to relax, to visit friends and to enjoy for the pure pleasure of inexpensive, independent and healthy transport.

Taking the Dutch model as a guiding philosophy, I sold my flash European car some two and a half years ago and bought a Dutch bicycle – an e-bicycle admittedly – but with a basket and panniers that would allow me to cart goods, clothes and business attire while going about my day-to-day business. Some twelve and a half thousand kilometres later, I have never enjoyed cycling more.

The European Bicycle Circle (EBC) project was an attempt to bring like-minded citizens together once a month to ride somewhere pleasant, to share a picnic or a pub lunch, swap philosophies and travel stories and to use our transport in the way it is done in Europe; no fuss, no dress-ups, no pelotons and no lycra. Through our online facebook page we swap stories and news about cycling in Australia and elsewhere and plan monthly cycling forays to supplement our day-to-day rides with an organized group activity.

We have undertaken around 14 rides to date with participants ranging in number anywhere between three and fifteen cyclists. These have included beach and seaside parades, languid linear park forays as well as City and ‘burbs’ coffee shops and bistro hops. Our philosophy is simple; ‘we ride because we do’.

If you share the camaraderie of cycling without the hype, if you use your bike to run your life, if you enjoy a shared meal in a park, on a beach or round a crackling log fire and enjoy the European-style craic, then do get in touch with us and perhaps join us on a ride.
Ride: every second Sunday of the month

Distance: 20-30 kms per ride
Average speed: 15-20 kmh
Age range: 20-70 years
Contact: Paul Hellander e: m: 0439 806 888

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