MC Cyclery Opening

(230 Clarence Street, Sydney)

Thank you and hello, everyone. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

Wow! This is really fantastic. To be in this amazing temple to cycling, to be surrounded by cycling enthusiasts - instead of the noisy carping critics.

Congratulations to everyone involved!

Tonight, we are launching not just the shop itself, but the year-long Ride Sydney campaign to celebrate cycling as a legitimate transport option for all ages.

This is the philosophy at the heart of the City's own Cycling Strategy, that cycling is not just for enthusiasts, it's also for school-children, for commuters, for families relaxing on a weekend, and I'm pleased to see that this store reflects that approach. As Nick has said, it's not just for people who ride already, it's also for people who want to ride.

For the sake of our City, and the sake of the planet, and for our own health as well, we must support them. We need to get out of our cars and into a range of less polluting, less congestive forms of transport.

Traffic congestion in Sydney is a huge and growing problem. It has health impacts and contributes to air and noise pollution. It costs the Sydney economy $3.5 billion a year and is predicted to rise to almost $8 billion over the next 15 years if we don't tackle it quickly. It makes the City a less appealing place than it could and should be.

The good news is that the number of cyclists is steadily growing. Our Cycling Strategy supports that growth, with 10 km of our planned 55 km of separated cycleways now completed, as part of the larger 200 km network linking the Harbour Bridge to Anzac Bridge, Woolloomooloo to Waterloo, Missenden Road, King Street and College Street…

And we're continuing to work with surrounding local government areas to create a fully-integrated, inner-regional Sydney network.

Independent research commissioned by the City shows that such a network would deliver at least $506 million in net economic benefits over a 30-year span - and that is roughly equivalent a $4 return on every dollar spent.

It would also reduce Sydney's traffic by 4.3 million car trips a year - and that's a really significant saving in congestion costs, noise and air pollution, and greenhouse emissions.

Despite the rants of people like Alan Jones, Sydney is steadily developing a cycling culture and we find as each section of cycleway is completed, people begin using it.

More and more employers, too, are supporting cycling, offering showers, lockers and bike parking and our new City Plan provides incentives for even more employers to provide these facilities.

In addition, the City offers free Cycling Confidence courses and bike maintenance courses to encourage and support those new to the world of bikes. And they are a growing group, with 2 million more bikes than cars sold over the last decade.

It's terrific to know that MC Cyclery and the Ride Sydney campaign will help take our cycling culture to a new level, and bring it to a wider group of people.

But as we know, there are plenty of people ready to carp and undermine a cycling culture, so can I repeat my plea to every cyclist to do your bit - and that includes obeying the rules, being considerate of pedestrians and motorists, too.

That way lies a calmer, safer, greener and healthier city for us all.

So once again, congratulations on this marvellous new venture. I wish you every success, and I'm pleased - courtesy of my bike-powered microphone - to declare MC Cyclery open.