To extol the virtues of cycling is to venture into familiar territory. There are the physical and mental health benefits, the strong environmental credentials, and the accepted understanding that a city which cycles is a less congested and better connected one.
But Canberra continues to squander the opportunity to truly cement itself as one of the world's great cycling cities, ignoring simple and practical solutions to encourage more people to get on their bikes.
This week, Canberra was named the No.1 cycling destination in Australia by the American PeopleForBikes foundation, which encourages the uptake of cycling.
The national capital was given a city rating of 59 on an index which takes into account cycling infrastructure networks and community attitudes.
On the world stage, however, Canberra is well off the pace. It's no surprise the top 10 globally is dominated by cities in the Netherlands, which have a long history of promoting cycling. Utrecht, the city in the Netherlands ranked first in the world by PeopleForBikes with a city rating of 83, built the country's first bike lane in 1885.
Improved cycling infrastructure is the key to increasing cycling participation in Canberra. The city's off-road cycle paths need to be upgraded and maintained as part of an ongoing program of works. The network must also be expanded to keep pace with Canberra's growing population and size.
For people considering taking up cycling - particularly to commute to work or complete errands rather than recreation - the prospect of riding on Canberra's arterial roads is a daunting one.
The avenues and ways that connect the city's town centres are a long way from reducing lanes for cars to make way for cyclists to ride in safety and comfort. In lieu of radical, and unnecessary, restrictions on cars, cyclists need to have a parallel and safe network of paths to commute as easily as drivers.
Almost a quarter of Canberrans cycle at least once a week, and a boom in bike sales has seen wait lists at bike shops grow, but this does not mean cycling is a way of life in the bush capital.
With a rich natural environment that screams out for recreational and competitive cycling, the ACT is in a unique position to marry the potential of active travel with sport and enjoyment.
Perhaps the ACT government's target to increase trips to work by bike to 7 per cent by 2026 ought to be more ambitious in a bid to drive faster and greater action.
If Canberra is to lead the world as a cycling destination, change is urgently required to make sure the capital does continue pedalling down the road to nowhere.
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