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Stromlo Bike Park – Is it ever good for kids?

By Emily Morris 6 February 2015 26

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I took my kids along to Stromlo Bike Park over Christmas and it was excellent – the wide road made for a great ‘practice’ space for my daughter to learn to ride without her training wheels and my little ones were free to play.  There were a few other people there – some cycling the track and many like us and enjoying the opportunity for the kids.

I have tried to recreate this since but every time I go there are loads of pretty serious cyclists whizzing around the track training.

I don’t for a minute begrudge the cyclists, but wanted to know if there are any times  that are better for kids (or, a time when cyclists tend not to be training).

Does anyone have any insight?


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Stromlo Bike Park – Is it ever good for kids?
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Grrrr 1:51 pm 10 Feb 15

dungfungus said :

This is code for the criterium track at Stromlo is for the exclusive use of “serious” cyclists who couldn’t care less about the fact that is was funded by ALL Canberra ratepayers.

Oh look, your rabid hatred of bikes is once again overriding any logic. Firstly, it’s not “code” for anything. You clearly have zero understand of, or insight into the mentality of cyclists and what they do and don’t care about – so should probably stop claiming you do.

Secondly … How dare the government build a bike facility and let it be used for free by the designed-for users, despite that then making it unsuitable for completely different users (such as kids) at that time? 😛

Now, I was there last Sunday lunchtime. The XC was on, and the crits track was empty when I first looked. A little later there were a couple of kids on it. There’s a million places equally-suitable for a kid just coming off their training wheels, and the kids track right next to it isn’t a bad start. School and office car-parks are good on weekends ..

KB1971 1:32 pm 10 Feb 15

Mysteryman said :

I think the exact same thing when I see the lycra brigade riding two abreast, or even a single cyclist ruiding well into the centre of a car lane. It strikes me as selfish and arrogant, especially considering the difference in speed between cars and cyclists and the inconvenience it causes to the flow of traffic and other road users.

Man, I hate trucks, they take up so much room and stop me from getting to where I want to go. They should pull left when I come up behind them so I can pass.

KB1971 1:25 pm 10 Feb 15

dungfungus said :

Leon said :

The criterium track at Stromlo is specifically designed for bicycle racing.

There are plenty of suitable car parks around Canberra that get little weekend use – for example at Dickson College and alongside Langton Crescent in Parkes.

A local grassy park may be an even better option, because grass is much softer to fall on.

This is code for the criterium track at Stromlo is for the exclusive use of “serious” cyclists who couldn’t care less about the fact that is was funded by ALL Canberra ratepayers.

Dungfungus, before you also get too far on your “all cyclists are arrogant f@#$%s” rant, as a cyclist I disageree with some of what Leon said. Yes it is a dedicated racing track but this track is a public facility which is not locked off when not in use.

It is perfect for teaching kids to ride on because it is big and wide and has no through traffic like a cycle path. They can meander as they please.

Having said that, I would only do it when there are no races on (obviously) and there are hardly any bikes training on it which is pretty well most of the time anyway.

Most serious road racers train on the road (much to Mysterymans disgust, sucked in) as that gives them better fitness than doing 38 laps of a criterion track that has bugger all climbing.

Sorry to others for my rant but peoples dogmatic approach to what other people do with their lives infuriates me. I sometimes think they would be happier living in North Korea where the Kim Jong Un will tell youn how it is or you will get shot!

Oh & on your taxpayer funded crap……….why cant I go and kick a footy on Bruce Stadium on a Sunday arve when its not being used? I pay for it, I should be able to use it…..dont you think??

dungfungus 11:25 am 10 Feb 15

Leon said :

The criterium track at Stromlo is specifically designed for bicycle racing.

There are plenty of suitable car parks around Canberra that get little weekend use – for example at Dickson College and alongside Langton Crescent in Parkes.

A local grassy park may be an even better option, because grass is much softer to fall on.

This is code for the criterium track at Stromlo is for the exclusive use of “serious” cyclists who couldn’t care less about the fact that is was funded by ALL Canberra ratepayers.

Maya123 10:21 am 10 Feb 15

Mysteryman said :

Maya123 said :

But sadly I don’t think some parents can see the danger to their children or others. This was brought home to me some years ago when riding home from work at peak hour. The path was busy with a person cycling past every few seconds. This was of no importance though to the mother sitting watching her toddler playing in the middle of the path with people on bikes having to go around the child. I said as I passed that her child shouldn’t be in the middle of the busy path. Her astonishing reply, “But he’s so little, you can go around him.” No concept of the danger she was putting her child or others in, or the inconvenience she was causing…

I think the exact same thing when I see the lycra brigade riding two abreast, or even a single cyclist ruiding well into the centre of a car lane. It strikes me as selfish and arrogant, especially considering the difference in speed between cars and cyclists and the inconvenience it causes to the flow of traffic and other road users.

But I bet the people cycling are going in a straight line. Much more predicable than a toddler, hardly able to stand up I might add, tottering about the path, NOT in a straight line. And not old enough to be responsible, which was a shame, because his mother certainly wasn’t being so. Plus the road, as was the path, is a transport corridor. The people cycling are using it as such, while the toddler was not. Hardly comparable.

darkmilk 10:20 am 10 Feb 15

14 posts without one of the L-words and 19 posts before both of them, that’s gotta be a RiotACT record!!!

(L-words: Lycra and Lance. Internet rules say they must appear to turn every bike related thread into a rant, apparently even this one about young kids)

Mysteryman 9:00 am 10 Feb 15

Maya123 said :

But sadly I don’t think some parents can see the danger to their children or others. This was brought home to me some years ago when riding home from work at peak hour. The path was busy with a person cycling past every few seconds. This was of no importance though to the mother sitting watching her toddler playing in the middle of the path with people on bikes having to go around the child. I said as I passed that her child shouldn’t be in the middle of the busy path. Her astonishing reply, “But he’s so little, you can go around him.” No concept of the danger she was putting her child or others in, or the inconvenience she was causing…

I think the exact same thing when I see the lycra brigade riding two abreast, or even a single cyclist ruiding well into the centre of a car lane. It strikes me as selfish and arrogant, especially considering the difference in speed between cars and cyclists and the inconvenience it causes to the flow of traffic and other road users.

Leon 8:45 am 10 Feb 15

The criterium track at Stromlo is specifically designed for bicycle racing.

There are plenty of suitable car parks around Canberra that get little weekend use – for example at Dickson College and alongside Langton Crescent in Parkes.

A local grassy park may be an even better option, because grass is much softer to fall on.

Maya123 10:51 am 09 Feb 15

Acton said :

Maya123 said:
“I said as I passed that her child shouldn’t be in the middle of the busy path. Her astonishing reply, “But he’s so little, you can go around him.” No concept of the danger she was putting her child or others in, or the inconvenience she was causing by allowing her toddler to play there.”

No concept of the danger you are putting children or others in, or the consequence of your own unsafe, selfish and inconsiderate riding attitude.
I am seeing more and more near misses involving cyclists and pedestrians.
This is happening on our shared paths, particularly around the lake, where people are slowly walking with young kids and a cyclist in racing gear comes hurtling past, from in front or behind, without any warning, acknowledgement or slowing.
Their attitude is that they have a right to pedal at high speed without the inconvenience of prams, kids, dogs, the elderly, families, walkers, tourists, joggers etc blocking their way.
The path around the lake was intended for leisurely use, not as a high-speed velodrome for the personal use of wannabe Lance Armstrongs aiming for a new PB.
Here is the consequence to think about:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/nsw/pedestrian-emily-greenwood-run-down-by-cyclist-20150111-12iii9.html

The paths around the lake were built for people to cycle on. If not for bicycles it’s doubtful many would have been built. I was here when they were built and knew the publicity for them and why they came about. However they were never gazetted for only bicycles and were allowed to be shared. I now find it strange that the attitude of some people is that really it would be better if bikes weren’t there, when after all these paths likely wouldn’t be there but for bikes. Or at the very least everything else on the paths must take precedence over bikes.
“No concept of the danger you are putting children or others in, or the consequence of your own unsafe, selfish and inconsiderate riding attitude.”
So, you regard riding slowly off the path to avoid this lone toddler in the middle of the path, which was toddling all over it from side to side, as dangerous and selfish. Your words to whatever I did, even though you had no way of knowing what my actions were. You accuse me of being dangerous and selfish. Seems, as someone on a bike, I can’t win, when riding slowly, wide and off the path onto the grass is stated by you as being selfish and dangerous. But a mother can release her small toddler into the middle of the path, sit some distance back and watch her ‘ever so cute’ toddler wobble (as toddlers learning to walk do) all over the path in the way of whatever comes along. Would you have this attitude if whatever came along were cars?
The path can be shared. I have never said otherwise. However it needs all users to think of others. Most people do. But a small percentage make it dangerous for others, by disregarding other users, by not keeping left and not looking before changing direction and behaving appropriately. Signs have been erected asking people to keep left. Unfortunately these signs are ignored by a minority.
I also walk on paths, but I walk by the left edge, as I should, and so I have never had a problem from people cycling by, regardless of the speed. Anyone who does have a problem, I suspect is not being thoughtful and keeping left.
Some of these shared paths are now getting to the stage where people walking and cycling need to have separate paths. Many other places have done this long ago.
Unfortunately, again a small minority, will ignore this, even if there were separate paths. And I also suspect this mother would still release her toddler to totter about. And from evidence here you would defend her right to do so and call those who criticise her dangerous behaviour as “unsafe, selfish and inconsiderate riding attitude.”

Postalgeek 10:36 am 09 Feb 15

Acton said :

Maya123 said:
“I said as I passed that her child shouldn’t be in the middle of the busy path. Her astonishing reply, “But he’s so little, you can go around him.” No concept of the danger she was putting her child or others in, or the inconvenience she was causing by allowing her toddler to play there.”

No concept of the danger you are putting children or others in, or the consequence of your own unsafe, selfish and inconsiderate riding attitude.
I am seeing more and more near misses involving cyclists and pedestrians.
This is happening on our shared paths, particularly around the lake, where people are slowly walking with young kids and a cyclist in racing gear comes hurtling past, from in front or behind, without any warning, acknowledgement or slowing.
Their attitude is that they have a right to pedal at high speed without the inconvenience of prams, kids, dogs, the elderly, families, walkers, tourists, joggers etc blocking their way.
The path around the lake was intended for leisurely use, not as a high-speed velodrome for the personal use of wannabe Lance Armstrongs aiming for a new PB.
Here is the consequence to think about:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/nsw/pedestrian-emily-greenwood-run-down-by-cyclist-20150111-12iii9.html

No-one is absolved of using common sense on a shared path. Cyclists and pedestrians alike have a responsibility to those in their care and those around them. Shared paths, like roads, are not a play area. They are part of a transit system. Different people use them for different reasons. You might use them for leisure, but for other people they are a commuting corridor.

I am acutely aware when taking my kids on shared paths of enforcing the stay-left rule. Everyone has an obligation to stay left and out of the path of oncoming traffic. I find pedestrians pay far less heed to this than cyclists. As car drivers often like to remind cyclists, your perception of what you’re allowed to do does little to stay the hard mallet of physics.

Ghettosmurf87 10:21 am 09 Feb 15

Acton said :

Maya123 said:
No concept of the danger you are putting children or others in, or the consequence of your own unsafe, selfish and inconsiderate riding attitude.
I am seeing more and more near misses involving cyclists and pedestrians.
This is happening on our shared paths, particularly around the lake, where people are slowly walking with young kids and a cyclist in racing gear comes hurtling past, from in front or behind, without any warning, acknowledgement or slowing.
Their attitude is that they have a right to pedal at high speed without the inconvenience of prams, kids, dogs, the elderly, families, walkers, tourists, joggers etc blocking their way.
The path around the lake was intended for leisurely use, not as a high-speed velodrome for the personal use of wannabe Lance Armstrongs aiming for a new PB.
Here is the consequence to think about:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/nsw/pedestrian-emily-greenwood-run-down-by-cyclist-20150111-12iii9.html

Whatever are you talking about? Where in Maya’s post was there any indication of the use of the path by her on her bike as a “high-speed velodrome”.

It is quite obvious that letting a toddler play in the middle of any busy thoroughfare is dangerous both to the toddler and to the other users of the thoroughfare, be they bike commuters, mums with prams, pedestrians, roller bladers, etc. “he’s only little, he’s easy to go around” is simply irresponsible on behalf of the parent. He is also so little that he is very easily hurt and not in particularly good control of his own movements, therefore being very unpredictable and an obvious hazard to other users.

You may as well let him play in traffic on the road or on a busy walkway.

Acton 9:45 am 09 Feb 15

Maya123 said:
“I said as I passed that her child shouldn’t be in the middle of the busy path. Her astonishing reply, “But he’s so little, you can go around him.” No concept of the danger she was putting her child or others in, or the inconvenience she was causing by allowing her toddler to play there.”

No concept of the danger you are putting children or others in, or the consequence of your own unsafe, selfish and inconsiderate riding attitude.
I am seeing more and more near misses involving cyclists and pedestrians.
This is happening on our shared paths, particularly around the lake, where people are slowly walking with young kids and a cyclist in racing gear comes hurtling past, from in front or behind, without any warning, acknowledgement or slowing.
Their attitude is that they have a right to pedal at high speed without the inconvenience of prams, kids, dogs, the elderly, families, walkers, tourists, joggers etc blocking their way.
The path around the lake was intended for leisurely use, not as a high-speed velodrome for the personal use of wannabe Lance Armstrongs aiming for a new PB.
Here is the consequence to think about:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/nsw/pedestrian-emily-greenwood-run-down-by-cyclist-20150111-12iii9.html

Ezy 8:29 am 09 Feb 15

Another option – grass ovals.

On Saturday afternoon my wife and I had a busy day looking at houses, we just needed some time out and headed to Rivett oval. Within 5 minutes of sitting down, a family appeared on the oval with a young child who was obviously very new to the bike. The dad would push the child and within 20 seconds the child would start to wobble and fall off with a laugh. Now riding on grass isn’t ideal because of the rolling resistance from the grass, but it does give the child a soft landing if they get the wobbles and have a fall. 30 minutes later the child was riding around full of laughs because he just learned to ride a bike. It was good to watch.

Nerdling 9:42 pm 08 Feb 15

Take a look at the On Road Radio Controlled Car Track in Kambah (off Kett St). It’s only in use by the club every 2nd Sunday. The track is around 3m wide.

I’ve seen plenty of young kids riding around the track on their bikes.

Postalgeek 9:08 pm 08 Feb 15

A good spot for kids to learn is Parkes, around the fountains in front of old Parliament House. Big flat areas with no traffic, lots of shaded avenues and paths which are great in the peak of summer, and the Pork Barrel cafe for refreshments.

dundle 5:31 pm 08 Feb 15

Hi I am one of those serious cyclists (although not as serious as some as I only do 30/40kmh on Stromlo and sadly not 50/60kmh). I hate it when there are kids on the track to be honest. It’s a criterium designed for cycling an I don’t think it is really a “learn to ride” type of place. I’m actually surprised Pedal Power recommends it for kids as I did not think that was its purpose.

If you go with kids then stay in the middle or at least keep left – basically just follow normal road rules you would anywhere and look out for others – I am able to go around people and have had no problems training when there are kids there who stay in the centre area (which can be fenced) or who keep left and respond to bells. It is only a problem when they are not supervised and/or stop randomly, go very slowly, stay in the centre of the path or what have you. Obviously cyclists will not try to hit anybody but when you are doing 40kmh it’s not always easy to stop suddenly and you don’t want to be in a position where you have to slam on the brakes for a toddler (for both your and their sakes).

However, I have been to Stromlo at around 8am on a weekday and it was pretty empty, if that helps. During the day probably as well (if you don’t work).

It’s probably best to pick other places though e.g. the carparks in Barton are empty on weekends and great for learning – adult clubs have been known to do cycling skills in such carparks. In fact any work-related carpark empty on weekends and some oval carparks empty on weekdays. You will have to watch for cars but they would be less frequent and slower than cyclists at Stromlo. Depending on your age of the child they could also go to outdoor paved basketball courts such as at schools when those are empty. Or just the regular shared paths. They have a lot of people cycling too but the speeds are generally lower and most people are more aware of obstacles and use their bells (compared to on the track where cyclists will take the lack of pedestrians/traffic lights etc. to really train hard as it’s the only opportunity). Some shared paths in Canberra are used more frequently than others and there are some areas around Lake BG which are wider than an average path so have more room for manoeuvring (although near the water’s edge).

Hope that helps

Maya123 12:46 pm 07 Feb 15

tooltime said :

Whats wrong with these places? Weston Park, around the lake, Queanbeyan Park, fountain area near Old Parly House, Exhbition Park. any government department parking space on a weekend. All of these are pretty good for kids to learn on….Im sure theres plenty more closer to your home as well….

“around the lake”.
It’s not really a good idea for a new rider to wobble along the lake side bike paths until they are a confident rider. It’s better to find a less used path. I am most familiar with the Lake Burley Griffin bike path and families with small children who don’t ride very well and wobbly about the path and don’t have a good concept or the brain development yet of the concept of keep left, are a hazard at any time, but especially in peak hour when adults are cycling to or from work at much greater speeds. All parties involved could get hurt in such a situation.
But sadly I don’t think some parents can see the danger to their children or others. This was brought home to me some years ago when riding home from work at peak hour. The path was busy with a person cycling past every few seconds. This was of no importance though to the mother sitting watching her toddler playing in the middle of the path with people on bikes having to go around the child. I said as I passed that her child shouldn’t be in the middle of the busy path. Her astonishing reply, “But he’s so little, you can go around him.” No concept of the danger she was putting her child or others in, or the inconvenience she was causing by allowing her toddler to play there. Not as bad, but inexperienced children on bikes are a hazard too, both for themselves and to others. Better they learn to ride away from busy paths.

Emily Morris 7:52 pm 06 Feb 15

tuco said :

Hamlet201 said :

It’s the same problem for dog walkers.

Do you mean you walk your dog on the crit track? And you think that’s a problem for dog walkers – imagine how the cyclists must feel.

OP – you’ll find people training there will go fairly hard. That’s the nature of it. Your best bet is to find a time when the training or racing isn’t on – check here for events:

http://stromloforestpark.com.au/bookings-events/confirmed-bookings

Have you had a look at the wide flat paths around the water settlement ponds near the RSPCA? Flat and quiet, and you won’t run into any other traffic. It’s also close to Stromlo if travelling is a factor.

Best of luck.

Thanks – I wasn’t aware of the paths near RSPCA!

tooltime 6:02 pm 06 Feb 15

Whats wrong with these places? Weston Park, around the lake, Queanbeyan Park, fountain area near Old Parly House, Exhbition Park. any government department parking space on a weekend. All of these are pretty good for kids to learn on….Im sure theres plenty more closer to your home as well….

OpenYourMind 5:33 pm 06 Feb 15

It is open to the public, however it’s designed for racing. Bit like going to Wakefield Park (albeit it’s a closed track) in your 120Y and wondering about all those cars whizzing past. If you’ve got kids, there’s a dedicated kids area with safe fences and little intersections and whatnot.

Really, if you are going to use the big racetrack, it’s probably not a wise move to have an unstable, new to riding family member using the same space as a racing cyclist training at up to 50-60km/h.

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