As Melbourne’s metropolitan area sprawls ever outwards, commuting times into the CBD every day are getting longer and longer. In the fast-growing western suburbs people are looking for transport options that will work for them.
To test how our Brompton bikes can offer transport solutions for people living in outer suburbs, three members of our Brompton Junction Team took on the challenge to race each other back to the city – each using a different transport option.
Our starting was Point Cook Shopping Centre, a shopping precinct in the midst of a large residential housing area, approximately 26km west of the city as the crow flies. The finish post was Melbourne Town Hall, on the corner of Swanston Street and Collins Street.
Harry – car commuter
Representing the typical Melbourne commuter for most areas outside the inner suburbs, Harry would drive the whole way from the start to the city, chancing his luck at traffic and finding a carpark in the CBD.
Dayna – multimodal commuter
Representing the majority of Brompton owners who use their compact folding bikes as a “last mile” solution. Rather than rely on unpredictable busses or fight for carparks at train stations, Dayna rode to Williams Landing Station catch an express train to the city, and from Flinders Street Station to the finishing post.
Stuart – hardcore cyclist
Representing the too-often disparaged “MAMIL” Stu was definitely up for the challenge of racing all the way back to the city on his 2-speed Brompton.
Race Day was 22 September 2019 – which was also #globalclimatestrike day. Melbourne’s infamous weather was at its notorious Springtime best. By 7:25am the temperature was already an unusually warm 17 degrees thanks to an unpleasantly strong, dry and dusty wind blowing down from the north. It wasn’t looking great for Stu’s ride in.
After a quick photo at the start, we set off on our respective commutes. Despite the gusty wind, our money was still on Stu to take the line honours…
The finish location was Melbourne Town Hall, on the corner of Collins Street and Swanston Street. It was a surprisingly close finish between Dayna and… Harry?!
At just on the 1hr mark Harry had sneakily found a short-term on-street carpark near to Town Hall and snuck in to grab the win! His amazingly fast run into the city was also aided by the fact that the date we’d chosen was the Friday before school holidays and a day that many people were reportedly choosing not to come to work in the city due to the strike for climate later in the day.
Arriving just a minute or two after Harry, Dayna had no problem boarding the train at Williams Landing, although with all the road works taking place around there presently, finding the safest and fastest way into the station was slightly confusing. The express service was not quite the sardine tin experience that she had feared – probably for the same reasons that explained Harry’s lighter-than-expected car commute.
In addition to a strong headwind, Stuart was thwarted a number of times by dead-ends and detours thanks to widespread roadworks in the western suburbs. Even so, he arrived at the finish point only 15min behind Dayna.
There were clearly a few different factors strongly influencing our results that we couldn't control - and that's why everyone is looking for the most reliable AND flexible transport options to suit their needs.
Had Harry not cheekily parked in a short-term park but tried to find the nearest all-day park, he would not only have had to park further away but pay $23 or more for the privilege of parking in the city.
Dayna's short ride along very quiet local streets and a share path along a creek to get to the train station makes for a great start to the day. At $8.80 for a return trip using Myki Money, or from as little as $4.72 using a Myki Pass, going multimodal is so easy with a Brompton - even on a crowded service.
Of course, riding the entire journey as Stu did incurs no extra charge, but not everyone is up for that challenge every day!
Riding to work - either the whole, or part of your commute, is a great way to fit physical activity into your daily routine and is a recognised method of increasing your mental health.