Workers wheel out bikes

WORKERS across the region will be leaving their cars at home today, opting for a healthier, more eco-friendly mode of transport.

Ride to Work Day is a nationwide program aimed at getting people to realise the financial, environmental and health advantages that come from riding a bike.

About 30 local workers will participate in one cycling event, starting at 6am in Ballina and travelling to Lismore for a barbecue breakfast before heading to work.

Even though Ride to Work Day only comes around annually, some locals keep it up all-year round.

“I have been riding to work for about six months and I work five days a week,” bike shop employee Ben Gordon said. “I live in Goonellabah so it only takes about 15 minutes to get into Lismore.”

Ben also has a new-found passion for BMX racing and competes every fortnight at Casino. Despite plans to get his car licence in three weeks, the 16-year-old is adamant he will stay on two wheels.

“Riding your bike is so cheap and you can go anywhere and do anything,” he said.

Australian drivers generate more than half the nation's total transport emissions and spend an average of $2500 on fuel each year.

Ben Gordon is not the only local steering away from carbon emissions, rego bills and fuel prices.

The owner of Harris Cycles in Lismore, Daryl Pursey, has dealt with people ranging from barristers to labourers who said that saving money was the biggest reason behind the change to cycling.

“When the price of fuel went up we had a large number of inquiries because people were just trying to save money,” he said.

“More people are getting rid of their second car so they don't have to deal with rego and fuel bills.

“But there is no bike infrastructure in Lismore, no cycleways or places to lock your bike up, so it makes it difficult for more people to switch.”

All money raised from today's barbecue breakfast will go to the House With No Steps.

Ride to work events Ballina: 6am for a 16km climb to Alstonville. Alstonville: 6.45am for a 14km gentle climb. Tregeagle: 7.30am Anglican Church, Alphadale Road, for a 7km gentle ride. Goonellabah: 8am barbecue breakfast at 612 Ballina Road.

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