THE wheels are turning less often for cyclists in Blacktown, if new research is to be believed.
A study by the University of Sydney's School of Public Health suggests the Australian cycling boom is a myth as the uptake of cycling has not kept pace with population growth.
It found there were 37.5 per cent fewer Australians riding bikes last year than in 1986, when the earliest known official survey of daily cyclist numbers was taken.
But the average daily count of cyclists who ride on the M7 cycleway through Glenwood has jumped from 156 to 239 in the past three years.
Kellyville Ridge resident Marjorie Au said the route was an exception, with many of the bike paths in areas such as Kellyville Ridge and Glenwood too short and disconnected to attract large numbers of cyclists.
"On the M7 shared path you can go for 40-odd kilometres without having to stop or cross a road," she said.
"We need more cycleways like this. If they build it, people will come."
Ms Au is involved in cycling group Bike North's Bike for Life cycling skills workshops.
"When I meet people on these day courses, one of the major concerns or reasons for not getting on a bike is because they feel that it is dangerous to ride on the roads, that it's not safe," she said.
"In our city the motorists tend to rule the roads. We get abused on the road because cars are held up for a few seconds to literally half a minute as they slow down to get around. The reaction is disproportionate to the effect it has on them."
A Bicycle NSW representative said people were deterred from cycling by not knowing where to ride.
"We are often hearing about lack of infrastructure such as dedicated cycle paths separated from automobiles as the main reason people don't cycle," she said.
The group suggests there are many reasons to take up cycling.
"We would cite health, the environment, friendships, good family activities, ease of parking, financial benefits — cycling is free — and sheer pleasure as the main reasons for cycling," the representative said.
Blacktown Council has completed the first review of its bike plan since 2002, to identify and set priorities for 14 proposed bicycle routes in the Blacktown local government area.
The review takes into account the growth of the area and plans to provide path networks to link pedestrians and cyclists to major focal points in the area. The plans will be on public exhibition for two weeks. Details: 9839 6000.