Jump on the Bike Bus!

11 May 23 | By pp-admin

Inspired by initiatives in Barcelona, Portland and Dorset, Pedal Power board member and founder of the Canberra by Bike Meetups, Paris Lord has now created the Bike Buses!

Overseas, the concept of bike bus is typically associated with kids going to school. A group of children accompanied by a few adults gather with their bikes to travel together. This concept encourages children who would otherwise not be able to ride to school independently to start their day with some exercise, and being part of a fun community.

“I’ve seen the joy of children riding bike buses overseas and hoped there might be interest among adults in Canberra” says Paris.

Paris’s bike buses are aimed at adults commuting, be it to work, or childcare, or any other destination. People who can ride and are keen to replace a car trip, but don’t feel comfortable being beside cars on busy roads like Northbourne Ave, and don’t know about the cycle paths available. We use mostly bike paths, except for footpaths in the National Triangle where there aren’t bike paths.

Anne lives in Farrer and works with Paris, she has been riding on the southside bike bus for the past two months.  “I’m a casual rider, and hadn’t ridden consistently for some time. The bike bus was a great re-introduction into the joys of riding, with the added bonus of occasionally taking in special sights such as the balloons, which have landed beside us twice now in Deakin and Curtin and the wonderful autumn colours.  Paris is always helpful with information too.  It’s a great way to start the day!”

Paris rides an electric cargo bike, but he makes sure the bus goes at a comfortable speed for all participants so you can join with whatever bike you already own, no special equipment necessary.

“Our first bike bus was on 6 February 2023 and since then we have been able to add another route and participants’ numbers are increasing steadily,” says Paris. “Some people join us once to check the route then ride independently from then on, whereas others ‘catch’ the bus multiple times a week”.

There are two options for the bike bus currently offered in Canberra. The Northside bus runs Mondays and Wednesday from Lyneham to Forrest via the National Triangle, departing at 7:30am. The Southside bike bus leaves Mawson at 7:30am on Thursdays heading to the National Library of Australia via Deakin. But Paris says he’d be very happy to start the bus in other locations if he gets support from people in other suburbs.

“I really appreciate Pedal Power’s support of the Bike Bus. It passes locations like child care centres in the city and National Triangle. I know some parents and carers are already using cargo bikes to take children to these destinations, and I am keen to hear from people who are considering doing so” says Paris.

You can ‘catch’ the bike bus at its starting point or meet it along the way. All approximate arrival times at mid-point sites are listed on the very clear website which also includes detailed maps and more information.

And if the bike bus is not for you, but you are keen to ride on weekends with a friendly group of riders at a leisurely pace, be sure to check out Paris’s other cycling endeavour, slow, guided social rides. These inclusive rides are often short and aimed at less confident riders. They’re fun for all, and usually include a sight seeing component of some less known areas of Canberra.