Reasons to Ride to Uni


Sick of riding the bus or fighting for a parking space at JCU? Maybe it’s time you got on a bike.

By Stine Pjaaten

The bus services in Townsville are not something to brag about. The buses rarely arrive on time and some of the routes finish at 6pm, making it difficult for students to be at school after hours or go somewhere in the evening. In early August, the Department of Transport and Main Roads took away five bus stops, leaving just two for the whole university.

Driving your car to university is not problem-free either. JCU only offers a limited number of car spaces, leaving students and staff queuing up for space every morning. When you need to be somewhere in a hurry, this can be very stressful but with a bike you can be sure to find a parking space close to where you need to be for your next class at any time.

SCENIC ROUTE: One of the many bike paths leading to JCU

Free workout

Coming from Norway to Townsville, one of the first things I noticed was the lack of hills. Except for Castle Hill, the whole city seemed pretty flat. The second was the never ending bike paths along the river. This city is practically made for cycling.

JCU also offers a free bike hire program on-campus. If you’re a little short on cash or want to save money on fuel, all you need is a $20 security deposit and a helmet. Think about it, you could be cruising around on a sweet green cruiser bike right now!

Kim Fjeld is a student at JCU and rides his bike to uni every day.

“I live 8.5km from school, and by bike, it takes around 25 minutes to get here,” he said.

“The bus only passes my bus stop once an hour and is never on time.

“I love the ability to go where I want, when I want.”

The free daily workout is also one of the benefits Mr Fjeld gets from cycling.

“After a long day in lectures or in the library, it is a relief to step on the bike, breathe some fresh air and use my body,” he said.

“It also saves me the money for a gym membership.”


JCU BUG: President Adella Edwards with her favourite mode of transport

JCU Bicycle Users Group (BUG) President Adella Edwards said an increase of cyclists on campus is a positive trend.

“When I started to work at JCU 17 years ago, there were almost no bikes to see around campus,” she said.

“Today JCU has to buy more and more bike racks to fit all the bikes.”

The JCU BUG association now has 94 members but during semester, Mrs Edwards said there could be up to 200-300 bikes parked around campus.

“On top of the bikes you see outside, there are many hidden away in offices,” she said.

“Lots of staff cycle and we are hoping to get better lock-up facilities for staff because the university is starting to crack down on bikes inside buildings.”

There are free bike shed and lockers at the western end of the library, but these days it is usually pretty full.

Mrs Edwards said although progress is slow, the facilities at JCU will continue to improve.

“There will be a new bike facility built in the medical precinct on campus soon,” she said.

“If more people request those facilities, the school will eventually prioritise us cyclists.”

Community bike shop

Did you know that the JCU BUG want to turn a room in the library bike shed  into a community bike shop? By recycling and rebuilding damaged and abandoned bikes, they will be able to re-sell them to students at an affordable price. The room is filled with bicycle parts and bike racks stuffed with damaged and abandoned bikes collected from around campus, ready to be repaired. They have all the tools that are needed, but they need some volunteers. So if you are interested in repairing bicycles, or just want to work on your own bike, feel free to contact Mrs Edwards.

RECYCLING: Bicycles in the library shed waiting for some TLC

Taking care of our planet

On the JCU BUG website, you can find a map that shows you the easiest way to get to campus from your home.

“I think students staying here for a short amount of time who only ride by bus or car, would not know how beautiful this city actually is,” Mrs Edwards said.

“With a bike, you can get around town from the areas around campus, down to the city and The Strand, exploring all the beautiful scenery Townsville has to offer, and it is all for free.”

Learn about your facilities

If you are already cycling to uni but want to know more about the facilities JCU are offering, you will find plenty of information on the JCU BUG website. In the summer, cycling to uni may be a sweaty affair, but the website provides maps showing all the shower facilities on campus. Also, if you want to ride with a friend or in a group, there is an overview of rides and events. Coming up in a couple of months is the annual National Ride to Work Day.