bike-it! TM   ...bicycling guidebooks and maps



On Your Bike, LCC/Greenpeace,

Draft Bike-it! Sydney 1st ed.,
March 2001

Bike-it! Sydney launch invite
June 2001

Bike-it! Sydney 1st ed,
June 2001

Bike-it! Sydney 2nd ed,
December 2005

Bike-it! Sydney 2nd ed, Wall Map, January 2006

Cycling Around Sydney
5th ed. August 2010

Cycling Around Canberra 1st ed. September 2011

Bike-it! History & Company Profile

>> The bike-it! story so far

>> Profile Bruce Ashley, The Environment Works Pty Ltd

>> Plans for 2018 and beyond

The bike-it!  story so far
The author of Bike-it! Sydney, Bruce Ashley, first developed the idea of a back-street guide, after a year spent working and living in inner London in the late 1980s. At the time a publication "On Your Bike" was a booklet mainly of detailed maps showing the "green" routes to cycle. So it was useful to avoid the 'Misery Line' tube from Tuffnel Park to Leicester Square, for an honest 10speed with blue mudguards for the daily commute.

Back in Australia, and after starting up the advocacy group MASSBUG and lots of riding around Sydney, Bruce worked on building bike maps...initially on a 386 PC, black and white pixels at a time, with Photoshop 3. After many false starts, the first draft black and white photocopied booklets were distributed to local riders to test the routes and information. With funding help by the Cycling Promotion Fund, and guaranteed purchase by Bicycle NSW, a first edition was then printed and published by Chain Gang Press. The booklet was staple bound, full colour cover, with and two colours (black and blue/green) throughout. Adam Spencer did the honours to launch the guide in June 2001, and 3,500 copies were sold in bookshops, bikes shops, festivals and stalls over a 4 year period.

Once the first edition was sold out, Bruce and Chain Gang Press worked on developing a 2nd edition. The book was totally rebuilt and the mapping base greatly expanded, in full colour and with many more features. As well as the 48 book maps, a separate A2 size route finding map that had an index to the book maps, a topographic shading was produced that complemented the guidebook and delivered free to those that sent in the tear-off card contained in the book. The 2nd edition was launched December 2005. Over 6,000 copies have since been sold into bookshops, bike shops, cycling organisations and at events. The publication has been out of print since about late 2008, so Chain Gang Press is now offering the publication as a downloadable PDF until such time that the 3rd edition can be produced.

Unlike almost all that had gone before it in Australia, the Bike-it! maps showed the best available low-stress cycling routes to get you from A to B rather than simply a bike facility status map and collection of random pieces of unconnected or broken bike network that usually passed for a cycling guide map. The fact that a piece of car-door lane existed is largely irrelevant to a bike-it route. The essential criteria was to map a connected journey using the best available route. If the marked facility helped to provide you a journey, then this was the route, but not just because it was a completed or "official" bike network. Most bike maps then and now, show completed and "official" bike facilities, with some showing "useful" routes. This is the big distinction between the Bike-it philosophy and the mainly government and Council mapping. The hotch potch of an unconnected network is now being displayed in ever more technical detail though a welter of electronic devices. But sadly the evolution of cycling facilities and a coherent cycling "environment" is not keeping pace. The publics lack understanding of just how easy and safe it is to ride on 90% of Sydney's
streets is also an issue. Not helped when advocates and Councils exaggerate claims of how dangerous it all is unless you use their own purpose-built multimillion-dollar facilities!

Bruce's' Bike-it! philosophy can be summed up as:
encouraging more cycling more often and quality experiences though enticing and practical information
getting people to build up experience and confidence to navigate themselves and not be totally reliant on technology - use common sense
high quality of graphics and accuracy of one to clearly communicate the message 
photos that inspire

Bruce Ashley, Director the Environment Works P/L

Bruce's background is as a qualified environmental scientist and recreation planner, having studied BSc (Forestry) at the Australian National University, Canberra, and Recreation Planning at Canberra University. He has had over 20 years experience as a freelance environmental and bicycle planning consultant. His professional experience includes cycling consulting for New Caledonia Tourism South; assistance in developing the Austcycle cycling proficiency scheme; development of a Mountain biking strategy for Brisbane City Council. He is a keen cycling advocate, and over a 25 year period has been involved in such issues as helping to gain the reinstatement of cycling on some of the wilderness management roads in Kosciuszko National Park, and the establishment of rail-trails. He has had many years back-country and remote areas cycle touring experience as well as being a regular cycle commuter in Sydney traffic. He has lead many social and touring rides over a 30 year period. He is a published author of a number of cycling guidebooks (refer Book & Maps), and also provides his own cartography and photography for his published work.

Plans for 2018 and beyond

Through 2018 Bike-it!-related plans include:

produce a 3rd edition of Bike-it! Sydney map - most likely as one single PDF map, which can later be updated/georeferenced as a smartphone app. Any assistance with this greatly appreciated!

printing on demand the maps from an updated Bike -it! Sydney 3rd edition as one single large framed or laminated limited edition print

leading tours - the September 2018 New Cal Experience tour is on again after a sucessfull full groupo tour in 2017, and at least a twice-yearly Trees of Canberra half day ride.

further developing a role as Ambassador for the Cyclelife HQ web site, and in particular developing rides related to rail-trails in Australia

possible updates and revisions to the Cycling Around Canberra and Cycling Around Sydney guidebooks. Initially this may be by placing updates from readers on this website

Stay tuned!





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