Professional cyclists competing in the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic joined Grafton Public School students in their weekly 'Bike Bus' ride to school on Friday, 12th May, 2017.
Professional cyclists competing in the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic joined Grafton Public School students in their weekly 'Bike Bus' ride to school on Friday, 12th May, 2017. Bill North

OUR SAY: On your bike, Grafton

THE second annual Grafton Festival of the Bike is set to be bigger and better than the first. But organisers have warned it's only a preview of what's to come in 2020 when the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic celebrates 60 years.

The festival was designed to sit in the slipstream of the time-honoured race and celebrate all things past and present - and promote a positive future of cycling in the region.

Photos from only a generation ago depict the humble bicycle as the accepted means of transport along the flat terrain of Grafton's grid network of roads.

Driving at a snarl across the bridge to Cadence director Danny Loyden's house in South Grafton yesterday, it was clear how far removed from that culture we are now. It hit home when he offered a sneak peek at his poignant short film, to be previewed at Grafton Regional Gallery tomorrow night.

This time next year Grafton's south and north will be serviced by two bridges, including one with cycle lanes. The 'unsafe' walkway I ran across at 5am this morning will no longer be the only means of human-powered transit across the river - and no longer an excuse. So on your bike.

Meanwhile, a fantastic opportunity exists for authorities to close the old bridge off to vehicles, much like many Latin American cities such as Quito, Bogota and Mexico City do in major boulevards every Sunday.