First published on 6 Jan 2012. Updated on 19 Oct 2012.
Bike blogger Laurence Guttmann from The Weekly Cycle, who has lived both northside and southside, weighs up what's what when it comes to bike lanes for commuters.
Northside: Canning Street’s bike-centric nature, despite the odd traffic light and speed trap, will set you up for a great day (as long as you’re prepared to share it with hundreds of others). Just be sure not to ride through Carlton Gardens at the southern end or you risk coming out the other side $250 in the red.
Royal Parade is not nearly as relaxing but still a good route for the slightly more intrepid. Heading north from there at Brunswick Road, you’ve got a choice of Sydney Road, which has no bike lanes, or the Upfield bike path (along the Upfield train line) which has numerous traffic lights, people crossing from stations and dog-walkers. Not a great choice.
Brunswick Street is a deathtrap, except during clearway times when cyclists will ﬁ nd a nice green strip to call their own. It does have a hill, which heads down at home time – a nice way to end the day.
Southside: Heading out of town, St Kilda Road isn’t bad. Just be wary of car doors which line the entire route. Unfortunately, there aren’t many friendly options once you reach St. Kilda Junction. There’s Fitzroy Street with its crazy two-way bike lane (don’t expect to be seen by anything crossing if you’re heading south). You can continue on down St Kilda Road but that doesn’t feel very safe. Further on, Nepean Highway has a dedicated bike path but the quality is not up to scratch.
A new bike route along Cecil Street from Albert Park most of the way into the city is a good option. Commuters will be slowed by roundabouts but with traffic calming measures implemented, it provides a fairly safe option.
Plenty of folk try their luck on Chapel Street but with its woefully skinny bike lanes, trams and traffic, it really is a gamble. On the plus side, you can hooonto the Yarra River for the final fling into town.
The champion: North