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  1. #1
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    Car Free in Australia

    I have been car free ever since I left Perth 3 years ago. I lived without a car for a year in Brisbane, but found it is a bit too hilly for comfortable cycling. The good thing about Brisbane is that there are lots of buses if you want to go away for a weekend or so up the coast.

    I now live in Melbourne. I actually work at a place where I am the only cyclist down near Laverton (lots of trucks). Melbourne could be the best cycling city in Australia, it is flat and has good bike paths, but I feel it has a way to go yet. Currently I ride the Federation trail which tosses you out to truck filled roads after it finishes.

    Anyway my biggest issue in Melbourne is that I miss seeing the country side, my friends with cars often go on day trips.

    to remedy this, I joined a hiking group that car pools. However it is too big of a group and it is hard to get on a hike.

    My other problem is if I need to buy something big, usually I have to carry it from the shop. There is a car share scheme starting up in Melbourne though, so that will be useful for that maybe.

    I cycled through Europe for 6 weeks last year and thought it was much better for living car free, obviously it is smaller and more dense, the cities are more compact and there are trains everywhere.

    Australia needs to move away from a car culture! I feel angry when my co-workers talk about cars and how much they would like to drive bigger and gas guzzling cars!

  2. #2
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I heard Hobart is pretty nice.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atre View Post
    I now live in Melbourne. I actually work at a place where I am the only cyclist down near Laverton (lots of trucks). Melbourne could be the best cycling city in Australia, it is flat and has good bike paths, but I feel it has a way to go yet. Currently I ride the Federation trail which tosses you out to truck filled roads after it finishes.

    Anyway my biggest issue in Melbourne is that I miss seeing the country side, my friends with cars often go on day trips.
    We lived in the country north of Melbourne for several years, and it was challenging to get around without a car. Rowan did it for many years, but eventually we got a van. And I know the feeling of missing the countryside. But at least there are trains in Melbourne.

    You could catch a train out to Lilydale, and then cycle up the Warburton trail. That's not bad. If you're energetic (and on a long weekend cycling tour), you could probably get all the way up to Marysville or Lake Eildon. That route is hilly after Warburton, but fairly quiet.

    I think there's also a train that goes out as far as Warrnambool. We talked about making our way down to Lilydale, catching the train to Melbourne, catching the train to Warrnambool, and then cycling out to Port Fairy and area, but we never did ... however, that might be an option for you.

    Do you live near Laverton too? That's not exactly the nicest area of Melbourne. But you might be able to get out to Macedon or Torquay. Those would be decent day's rides.


    As for getting something big home from the shops, that's what delivery services are for. Have it delivered.

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    I don't think I will ever get a car, I am trying to see how long I can live like this (maybe until kids come along?). I live in Footscray and I have done rides around here, and most of the main trails - Lilydale-warburton, bellarine, down the coast. I would like to do the Bright to Wangarata rail trail but it is a 3 hour train journey, too long to do in a day. Warnambool again is a very long train ride. I do like swimming so it would be nice to go for a day trip to a nicer beach than in the bay, but Torquay has no train service, unless I ride from Geelong or something.

    I'm actually keen on cycle touring Melbourne to Sydney along the coast, since I rode 2600km last year in Europe. But I am worried that someone will run me over, people in Australia aren't that aware of cyclists (though Melbourne is okay).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by atre View Post
    I have been car free ever since I left Perth 3 years ago. I lived without a car for a year in Brisbane, but found it is a bit too hilly for comfortable cycling. The good thing about Brisbane is that there are lots of buses if you want to go away for a weekend or so up the coast.

    I now live in Melbourne. I actually work at a place where I am the only cyclist down near Laverton (lots of trucks). Melbourne could be the best cycling city in Australia, it is flat and has good bike paths, but I feel it has a way to go yet. Currently I ride the Federation trail which tosses you out to truck filled roads after it finishes.

    Anyway my biggest issue in Melbourne is that I miss seeing the country side, my friends with cars often go on day trips.

    to remedy this, I joined a hiking group that car pools. However it is too big of a group and it is hard to get on a hike.

    My other problem is if I need to buy something big, usually I have to carry it from the shop. There is a car share scheme starting up in Melbourne though, so that will be useful for that maybe.

    I cycled through Europe for 6 weeks last year and thought it was much better for living car free, obviously it is smaller and more dense, the cities are more compact and there are trains everywhere.

    Australia needs to move away from a car culture! I feel angry when my co-workers talk about cars and how much they would like to drive bigger and gas guzzling cars!
    It's what you make it. I was free of car ownership for around 12 years, initially in Hobart, then in country Victoria where getting big stuff was a real challenge. The area was around Alexandra (near Lake Eildon, north of Melbourne).

    When in Hobart, I built a bike trailer about six foot long that moved a lot of stuff including bed mattress, lounges, and other furniture. In country Victoria, I used friends, or had stuff delivered. Hire a ute for a day -- they are usually quite cheap.

    Laverton isn't exactly a place I would like to work, let alone commute by bike. But then, if I had to, I would spend several weekend exploring options that may be longer to ride, but actually have a higher level of cycling amenity or comfort.

    As to the countryside, when I was didn't own a car, I would use trains, buses/coaches, friends' cars or hire vehicles to move around. I was participating in randonnees just about every month for a while, and I had to get creative with my transport options. I even rode 160km overnight to participate in a randonnee starting in Inverloch. A tent, or at least a lightweight bivvy, and sleeping bag would be handy acquisitions.

    And I might suggest that you concentrate on what you do, rather than get angry at what co-workers might think or do. Just like you, they are entitled in Australia to make their own choices about how they spend the money they earn, and if they want to spend it on cars and fuel, so be it. You are quite entitled to spend you money on bikes and accessories and associated activities.

    Europe is also not much smaller than Australia. It's a fallacy to think otherwise. But the high density of the cities might make it attractive for living free of car ownership and certainly the train services just about anywhere make it much more attractive than most parts of Australia.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atre View Post
    I don't think I will ever get a car, I am trying to see how long I can live like this (maybe until kids come along?). I live in Footscray and I have done rides around here, and most of the main trails - Lilydale-warburton, bellarine, down the coast. I would like to do the Bright to Wangarata rail trail but it is a 3 hour train journey, too long to do in a day. Warnambool again is a very long train ride. I do like swimming so it would be nice to go for a day trip to a nicer beach than in the bay, but Torquay has no train service, unless I ride from Geelong or something.

    I'm actually keen on cycle touring Melbourne to Sydney along the coast, since I rode 2600km last year in Europe. But I am worried that someone will run me over, people in Australia aren't that aware of cyclists (though Melbourne is okay).
    The rail trails in Victoria are generally pretty good.
    https://www.railtrails.org.au/trail-...tions/victoria

    The whole Bright/Wangaratta rail trail (Murray to the Mountains) is really nice ... probably the best one of the bunch. I highly recommend getting out there. The March long weekend is coming up.

    We lived along the Great Victorian Rail Trail ... it's sort of gravelly, but not bad.

    If you want to do a cycling tour from Melbourne to Sydney, I'd recommend going up through the middle rather than along the coast. I've enquired, and the coast is not particularly recommended for cycling ... especially during tourist season.

    I did a tour from Sydney to Melbourne a number of years ago and I cycled down to Wollongong across to Goulburn, down to Canberra, down to Jindabyne, up and over the mountains to Albury/Wodonga, and then my cycling partner and I went through the mountains down to Melbourne, but if I were to do it again, knowing what I know now, I'd go to Wangaratta, Benalla, Yea and work my way down that way.


    And yes ... cycle from Geelong. There is some decent (although sometimes hilly) cycling south of Geelong.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by atre View Post
    I don't think I will ever get a car, I am trying to see how long I can live like this (maybe until kids come along?). I live in Footscray and I have done rides around here, and most of the main trails - Lilydale-warburton, bellarine, down the coast. I would like to do the Bright to Wangarata rail trail but it is a 3 hour train journey, too long to do in a day. Warnambool again is a very long train ride. I do like swimming so it would be nice to go for a day trip to a nicer beach than in the bay, but Torquay has no train service, unless I ride from Geelong or something.

    I'm actually keen on cycle touring Melbourne to Sydney along the coast, since I rode 2600km last year in Europe. But I am worried that someone will run me over, people in Australia aren't that aware of cyclists (though Melbourne is okay).
    I've ridden more than 100,000km in Australia -- Tasmania, Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT -- and the only problem I've had involved no-one else but me.

    Having said that, I don't think I would enjoy Sydney at all. But thousands of other cyclists seem to survive there. Melbourne traffic can be quite a lot of fun to ride in.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I haven't ridden quite as much as Rowan has in Australia (I've only been here approx. 5 years) but I've logged about 25,000 km in that time, in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, and Western Australia ... and have had only 2 minor issues with traffic.

    Generally speaking, I've found the traffic in Australia to be pretty good.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    It's what you make it. I was free of car ownership for around 12 years, initially in Hobart, then in country Victoria where getting big stuff was a real challenge. The area was around Alexandra (near Lake Eildon, north of Melbourne).

    When in Hobart, I built a bike trailer about six foot long that moved a lot of stuff including bed mattress, lounges, and other furniture. In country Victoria, I used friends, or had stuff delivered. Hire a ute for a day -- they are usually quite cheap.

    Laverton isn't exactly a place I would like to work, let alone commute by bike. But then, if I had to, I would spend several weekend exploring options that may be longer to ride, but actually have a higher level of cycling amenity or comfort.

    As to the countryside, when I was didn't own a car, I would use trains, buses/coaches, friends' cars or hire vehicles to move around. I was participating in randonnees just about every month for a while, and I had to get creative with my transport options. I even rode 160km overnight to participate in a randonnee starting in Inverloch. A tent, or at least a lightweight bivvy, and sleeping bag would be handy acquisitions.

    And I might suggest that you concentrate on what you do, rather than get angry at what co-workers might think or do. Just like you, they are entitled in Australia to make their own choices about how they spend the money they earn, and if they want to spend it on cars and fuel, so be it. You are quite entitled to spend you money on bikes and accessories and associated activities.

    Europe is also not much smaller than Australia. It's a fallacy to think otherwise. But the high density of the cities might make it attractive for living free of car ownership and certainly the train services just about anywhere make it much more attractive than most parts of Australia.
    I'm only working in Laverton for a month, so it wont be long. Before that I commuted to the CBD, and before that I commuted to the CBD from Prahran, but moved to Footscray because cycling up Chapel St was just too scary.

    I guess because I'm a big environmental advocate, a feel a bit pissed off with people who treat cars like necessary items, especially wanting certain cars just for show. In Europe plenty of people get by without a car. Also, Europe is far more dense in terms of people than Australia, it was much easier cycling through Europe knowing if something went wrong, a train or a town wasn't too far away.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atre View Post
    Also, Europe is far more dense in terms of people than Australia, it was much easier cycling through Europe knowing if something went wrong, a train or a town wasn't too far away.
    Yes ... but would you really want Australia to be that population dense?

    I like cycling and travelling through Europe ... we've done quite a bit of it (most recently we spent 3 months there in 2012), but I also like getting out into the middle of nowhere and cycling well away from towns and people.

    Right now, you're fortunate to be living in a small state with a lot of variety, and therefore a lot of interesting cycling opportunities. We really enjoyed cycling in many parts of Victoria. Go cycle the Great Ocean Road ... cycle down Wilson's Prom ... cycle up in the Australian Alps ...

    It's almost over now, but maybe you'd be interested in the 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge ... for something different to do ...
    http://www.7peaks.com.au/

    We did it in 2011, and it's a good challenge. Most of the climbs aren't too far out of Melbourne.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atre View Post
    I guess because I'm a big environmental advocate, a feel a bit pissed off with people who treat cars like necessary items, especially wanting certain cars just for show.
    I agree with you. We have a right to feel angry about these caprices, especially when you consider that all of us end up paying for them.
    Gimme that car-free living!

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