Can you imagine driving to work in another country every day? While it is virtually impossible to do so in Australia as we are “girt by sea”, my friend Giorgia used to do this when she lived in Como, Italy and worked in Lugano, Switzerland. It was a drive of nearly an hour every day from Lake Como to Lake Lugano or two-hour bus journey. Still, a round-trip commute by car in heavy traffic is stressful. When she moved to Australia from Italy, one of the first things that she did was to buy a bicycle. She finds the physical landscape of Sydney beautiful and believes that it is one of the most beautiful places to bicycle, even with the hills.
Her first bicycle was a K-mart bicycle that she bought at Christmas in 2011 when she first arrived. Her second bicycle was a second-hand mountain bike that had many gears and more importantly, a rack in the back which was handy for carrying lots of things. Now, she rides a beautiful lime-green second-hand vintage bicycle which she purchased from Sell Buy Swap which she loves. She lives in Kensington and rides daily into the city for work. It’s a twenty minute cycle to the city.
Ironically, she finds bicycling in Sydney easier than in Italy and cycles here more than she ever did in Europe despite the mandatory helmet laws in Australia. Giorgia described bicycling into the city as “the feeling of going on holiday despite just going to work.” Fresh air, seeing new things and meeting new people are all in abundance on the bicycle. She has found the community of cyclists to be a friendly and outgoing group and she’s met many new people this way.
One evening on her way home, I met Giorgia at the local Woollies in Surry Hills. Of course, we were both on our bicycles.
I asked her if she had noted any changes since she started bicycling in Sydney. She paused for a moment and said that she noticed that her calves were more toned and her bottom higher. She finds that she has more energy.
Most importantly, she is happier because she has less stress associated with driving in heavy traffic, searching for parking, paying parking tickets and missing the bus which happens inevitably with public transport. I won’t be seeing as much of Giorgia as she recently started a new role in Bondi Junction but I’m certain that she’ll be bicycling there!