So, whilst I was on Bicycle QLD, I was fortunate enough to have a quick chat with Omar, the CEO of Bicycle NSW.
Firstly, I have to say, he has the most beautiful bike. It’s made of hickory, yet has not sacrificed any performance – it’s got Easton Creek wheels, disc brakes, and a rather cute, albeit odd, fur covered Fizik saddle.
I also must confess that I am not a member of Bicycle NSW. I am (and have been for a few years) a member of Bicycle QLD (I am a Queenslander at heart), and I felt that Bicycle NSW couldn’t and didn’t really offer me anything.
Omar was really upfront. He agreed that cyclists in NSW had traditionally felt that Bicycle NSW didn’t offer much other than insurance for cyclists. He confessed that he hadn’t thought much of being a member of Bicycle NSW, and that his motivations for becoming CEO, stemmed from wanting to create an organisation that he would be proud to be a member.
I asked him about research – and how I thought that cycling in general would have a much stronger advocacy case with more well designed research. He agreed with me, mentioning the cycling study being done by UNSW (I’ve plugged that one before), but said that with a limited budget and research skills, good research was difficult.
I lastly asked him about what was in the pipeline – particularly about a big ride – CQesque. He mentioned the Spring Cycle (16 October in Sydney), National Ride to Work Day (12 October) and the NSW discovery long weekend (23-25 March 2012 in Orange NSW), and hinted that Bike NSW might have a partnership with Bike QLD in the next couple of years to run a tour, but sadly, there’s nothing concrete.
Overall I thought Omar was really upfront about some of the challenges facing Bicycle NSW. I certainly congratulate him for being very approachable – he rode with the back of the pack – not out front with the fast pack, and really made an effort to engage. Oh, and did I mention his beautiful bike?