THE international ‘voice of cycling’ Phil Liggett has thrown his support behind the proposal for an Oceanway on the southern Gold Coast and says bicycles are the way of the future for transport in major cities.
The veteran Tour de France and Olympic cycling commentator says the Gold Coast is likely to be faced with the same crippling gridlock as London and Rio if policymakers don’t start investing in cycling infrastructure soon.
“(The Oceanway) would be (beneficial) not just for events but for people,” he said.
“London is spending millions of pounds … and London has very narrow roads. Yet they’re still splitting the roads for bicycles only as well as motor cars.
“They’ve got the Thames Way which runs along the banks of the River Thames for cyclists and pedestrians.
“Boris Johnson who was our Mayor of London, he was the man who got the ball rolling … you look at the commuters — they’re pouring off the trains at the main railway stations, unfolding their bicycles and riding to work and they’re beating any taxi or traffic.”
The comments come as community groups continue to lobby for the Oceanway path from Bilinga to Tugun — a proposal that The Gold Coast Bulletin believes has a lot of support within council.
Mr Liggett said the Gold Coast also had the wherewithal to establish an event similar to the lucrative Cape Town Cycle Tour.
“It’s the biggest money spinner the Cape has — it brings in more money than any other event,” he said.
“I doubt you’d get to the size of Cape Town’s but you could certainly handle it. You’ve got the hotels, you’ve got the infrastructure now and most cyclists are pretty nice people.”
Fresh from the Rio Olympics, the prominent commentator and sport journalist said he jumped at the opportunity to return to the Gold Coast for the first time in 28 years because he saw the importance of the Oceanway Ride in promoting grassroots cycling.
Mr Liggett will first compere the children’s 250m loop event this afternoon before the main event tomorrow.
The former elite cyclist said he saw promoting recreational fixtures like the Oceanway as the key to sharing his passion with the world.
“It took me into radio and television and now I’ve been to 44 Tour de France races and 15 Olympic Games and it’s all by simply starting out enjoying the countryside on a bicycle,” he said.
“To feel the wind on your face to me, is pretty special.
“I want to encourage people to ride bikes — that’s the reason I came out here.”