Cycling keeps commuter Simon Willshire spirited, social and strong

Simon was nine when he inherited his brother’s Malvern Star.

The foot brake didn't work, but it had hand brakes. There were Chopper handlebars and I could ride the bike side-saddle and no hands. My mates and I went on some epic rides. We’d venture from Balwyn to Doncaster and back or Balwyn to the Zoo via Richmond - return!

The passionate cyclist gets out on his bike almost every day.

I love to - lawfully - ride hard on the daily commute and whizz past lines of cars. After more than 20 years of commuting I can't think of using public transport. I love to do longer rides with friends on Sundays and to tootle to the market and elsewhere with my family. I feel as strong and as fit as I was twenty years ago.

Riding has strengthened Simon’s relationships with his loved ones.

My weekend ride with friends gives me the opportunity to share and workshop some thorny issues while pedaling or caffeinating. It has evolved into half a dozen of us with partners, my sister-in-law and my kiddos having an annual cycling and social holiday in Bright. We also catch up with another couple for a regular evening ride for aperitivo and Italian cinema. Riding has facilitated many chats with my family about others’ riding abilities and hardiness when the weather is a bit dodgy.

He believes awareness can help drivers and cyclists look after each other on the roads.

Let’s lower the aggro and be aware of each other. I’m amazed at how many cyclists will overtake other riders via the car lane without looking over their shoulder, perhaps believing cars will or should defer to them. Stay safe by assuming the worst and you'll be right. Assume that drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists haven't seen you and act accordingly.

Simon encourages others to consider cycling as a commuting option.

It’s healthy, quick and safe - and you’ll save a stack of money over time. A little bit of organising will set you up nicely for the work day ahead. Prep by ironing and folding your work clothes into a travel bag. At work, store your shoes and some emergency socks and underwear. Invest in a backpack with a plastic rain cover, and carry a stowaway raincoat and temporary mudguard for the small handful of times it might rain on your ride.

By working together, Simon believes we can reach our goal of zero road deaths.

Government, agencies and planners should get together to ensure roads provide good separation of cyclists and vehicles. I’d like to see more public information campaigns that show how easily a car can hurt or kill a cyclist.