by Athena Thompson and Joe Sterley

    As cycling attracts a diverse range of people, getting on a bike serves different purposes for different people; for fun, a relaxed spin, super serious or just downright practical to get you to your next point. As there are different types of riders, a particular bike is going to suit them better. Which one is you?

    The Commuter

    Usually you can see a steady stream of them westside heading towards the city up along Footscray road or Dynon road (not so steady since lockdown) sporting gear that’ll usually get changed once they hit the office. And if they don’t, be glad you’re now working from home. It was a great alternative to your car, which could leave you sitting in for at least double the time it would take you to cycle. Even alternative to being jam packed like a sardine on public transport in peak hours. However, it’s still a great choice right now for the ‘Lockdown Commuter’ as there’s heaps of space on the bike path with others working from home right now and now more glad than ever to not be on public transport.

    Best bike choice

    Medium width road tires with mudguards that are quick on smooth surfaces but handle bumps in the path, off-road shortcuts, and puddles, with ease. An upright riding position and powerful brakes to safely avoid potential collisions. Bright front and rear lights to be seen in the darkness or low light of winter rush hours.

    The Off-Road Rider

    Adventurous off the road trails, most content to be exploring and challenged by surfaces. You’re likely to spy them further out west in the beaten tracks of the You Yangs regional park. The ‘Lockdown Off-Road Rider’ locals can be found at the Quarry Park MTB trails, as they can’t travel far for sport right now.

    Best bike choice

    Bikes that go just about anywhere! Wide tires with knobbly tread to grip on rocks, roots, mud, and sand. Strong bike frames often with suspension, built to absorb impacts.

    The Road Racer

    Total head down, bums up sort of person. Serious about riding, recording trails and clocking times. You might find them along Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail, a 23 kilometre trail that follows the Williamstown and Altona foreshores to Skeleton Creek in Altona Meadows. The ‘Lockdown Road Racer’ still connects online with other riders on Strava, whilst training solo on local roads or with an indoor bike trainer. The current lockdown fad of cycling fanatics is to do their entire suburb, every single street, otherwise known as ‘burbing’.

    Best bike choice

    Bike frames are light and have an aggressive riding position, because speed gives greater comfort. Narrow tires run at high air pressure because less contact with the road makes you go faster. And, a bit of tech to use on rides to collect statistics and connect with other riders is Strava ( Strava is an app used for tracking exercise and a social network for people who want to compare their stats and maps.

    The Local Cruisers

    Whether it’s a family ride to get the legs moving, fresh air and exercising. From Mum or Dad towing babies and toddlers, from primary school to early teens. Maybe it’s just riding to the park, the shops and around the neighbourhood. Running the A to B errands to just to duck out to grab the essentials taking the bike is the simpler and quicker option. Cycling is super sustainable, it’s the cheaper eco-friendly option for most as you can use it to go anywhere and everywhere if you’ve got the stamina. Basically running on your energy, not having to worry about paying for petrol or parking. We spend so much time stuck inside at the moment, the ‘Lockdown Local Cruiser’ is the perfect escape as you can easily keep your distance from others. A ride around our local neighbourhood with our family or housemates brings a feeling of freedom.

    Best bike choice

    Any bike will do, if pedalling makes the wheels turn and the brakes make them stop, then we’re good to go. If you’ve got kids to tow then probably a commuter style bike is best, however some people like to use cargo bikes as it means you pile more than one kid on board. A tip to deter thieves, use a strong lock attached through the rear triangle of the frame and around a sturdy anchor.

    Photos by Joe Sterley, Community Bike Shed Coordinator at the Inner West Community Bike Hub, a not-for-profit community program that recycles bikes to sell or give to those in need. To buy a bike, get your bike serviced or repaired, or make a donation, contact Inner West Community Bike Hub ( on 0480 158 569, or email


    Athena Thompson
    Athena Thompson
    Athena Thompson is a professional problem solver by day (business consultant at, and supreme question asker by night. Exploring Melbourne’s west one curiosity at a time.

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