Adelaide gears up for world cycling experts

Cycling is now the fourth most popular form of exercise in Australia. Photo courtesy Randy Larcombe.

Cycling is now the fourth most popular form of exercise in Australia. Photo courtesy Randy Larcombe.
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Friday, 15 January 2010

A world-renowned Dutch expert on city and cycle planning will be putting a case for Australia to become a more bicycle-oriented society when she addresses a conference in Adelaide next week.

Associate Professor Ineke Spapé is the guest speaker at the second annual Australian Cycling Conference hosted by the University of Adelaide on 18-19 January, coinciding with the 2010 Santos Tour Down Under and the Australian Mountain Bike Championships being held in Adelaide.

The traffic and urban engineer has more than 20 years' experience in pedestrian, cycling and infrastructure planning and has helped introduce bike networks and cycling strategies in London, Cape Town, Ecuador and New York.

Assoc. Prof. Spapé is among a host of speakers who will address the two-day conference on a number of topics, including the role of cycling in a sustainable future, improving safety for cyclists, the history and development of the bicycle, and ideas for upgrading cycling networks.

"To really stimulate cycling in an integral way in Australian cities, it is necessary to develop a comprehensive strategy," Assoc. Prof. Spapé says. "The liveability of Australian cities will be greatly enhanced if we can change the culture so that cycling is part of daily life."

The President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe AO, will address the benefits to society of encouraging cycling, which include exercise, less use of costly resources and a massive reduction of carbon dioxide emissions on our roads.

The popularity of the Santos Tour Down Under, which attracted nearly 750,000 people to Adelaide last year, has helped raise the profile of cycling as an alternative method of transport, according to Dr Jennifer Bonham, a member of the conference organising committee.

Dr Bonham, a University of Adelaide transport expert, says across Australia cycling is the fourth most popular form of exercise, with more than 11% of people riding a bike on a regular basis.

"The number of people cycling for exercise, recreation and sport has increased by 36% since 2001," Dr Bonham says. "It is only eclipsed by walking, aerobic fitness and swimming," she adds.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in 2008 nearly two million people over the age of 15 took part in some form of recreational cycling at least three times a week.

The number of Australians cycling to work has also increased markedly, with the latest ABS data showing around 100,000 people now ride to work each day across the country.

Thanks to initiatives such as the National Ride to Work Day, which in 2009 attracted an estimated 95,000 cyclists, and the worldwide media interest in the Tour Down Under, enhanced by the 'Lance Armstrong' effect, cycling is finally coming into its own, says Dr Bonham.

Other conference speakers and topics include:

  • Fay Patterson, Hub Traffic and Transport, South Australia - Roundabouts and Cycling: an Australian perspective;

  • Dr Jennifer Bonham (University of Adelaide) and Peter Cox (University of Chester, UK) - Disciplining the deviant traveller: a Foucouldian critique of cycleways;

  • Leon Arundell - The evolution and science of the bicycle and Cycling to school - practical and legal considerations;

  • Dennis Puniard, University of Canberra - Cycling, Tourism and online technology;

  • Adrian Billiau and Paul Corcoran, University of South Australia - Mapping mountain bike trails - Eagle Mountain Bike Park, Adelaide

The Honourable Patrick Conlon, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy, will officially open the Australian Cycling Conference at the University of Adelaide on Monday 18 January at 9am.

More details about the conference, including a full program of speakers and topics, can be found at

WHAT: Australian National Cycling Conference
WHERE: Flentje Lecture Theatre, Architecture Building, University of Adelaide
WHEN: 18-19 January 2010


Contact Details

Dr Jennifer Bonham
Senior Lecturer
Department of Geography, Population and Environment
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4655
Mobile: 0406 399 249

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762