Next year my wife and I will be spending about three months in Europe. We will lease a new car in France and drive through Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Spain and Portugal. One of our plans is to spend a couple of weeks cycling down the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Although bikes can be hired in Germany to do these rides it’s not that cheap and we figured that it would be a time consuming hassle to return the bikes to their place of rental, plus it would be nice to use the bikes in some of the smaller towns we’ll visit.
A good friend of mine, Paul has a very high quality folding bike and he travels overseas on business frequently and sometimes he takes his bike with him. For example, Paul was in England last week and he rode his bike around Oxford for a couple of days. It’s Paul’s enthusiasm for folding bikes that helped us to decide to buy two of them for our up coming trip. The fact that the bikes were on sale was icing on the cake.
Today we went cycling at Homebush Bay with our new bikes.
The picture below shows our two folded bikes in the back of our car. Normally I have to put down my back seats so I can fit one bicycle into the car, but as you can see, our folding bikes don’t take up much space.
The bikes are also extremely quick to un-fold and it only takes about 30 seconds to do so.
Thanks to some advice that a friend gave us, my wife and I took our bicycles down to Melbourne last week. We stayed at the Victoria Hotel which is right in the middle of downtown Melbourne next to the town hall. Melbourne (as I’ve mentioned before) is a very cycle friendly place. One morning we cycled down to St.Kilda, which was only about a 15 to 20 minute cycle away, to have breakfast.
St.Kilda has a bit of a mixed reputation amongst the locals. It’s seen as a bit of a tourist destination that is full of poseurs. Sure enough, St. Kilda has it’s quota of guys making a big display of riding their bikes with arms folded but it’s nowhere near as painful as Venice Beach in Los Angeles which has to be the wanker capitol of the world.
In St. Kilda we enjoyed Acland Street with is lovely old world cake shops; St. Kilda Pier and the ride back to downtown via Kerferd Street which has some very lovely old houses from the Victorian era
through the Federation style
and then onto the late Art Nouveau period.
When I was in New Orleans many years ago I thought that too much fuss was made over the few old buildings they had there with “iron lace”. If you like that sort of thing, Australia has much, much more of it in Sydney and Melbourne.
I went cycling with my friend Paul and his trusty birdy at Olympic park in Homebush last Thursday.
The beautiful thing about cycling at Homebush is that there are not only 35kms (just under 22 miles) of very nice cycle paths and restaurants; there is the spectacle of the stadium itself.
Due to an advertising deal Stadium Australia has acquired the name “Telstra Stadium”.
Most people I know here in Sydney just call it the Olympic Stadium.
During the Olympics two local comedians (Roy and HG) ran an hilarious TV show called “The Dream” at the end of the day, commenting on the day’s events. Roy and HG with the help of cartoonist Paul Newell had come up with an alternative to the “official Olympic Games mascots”, called “Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat”.
Fatso was much more popular with most Sydney-siders than the bland official mascots and there is a likeness of him on top of a pole near the stadium.
Before the Sydney Olympics (best Olympics ever, don’tcha know?) in 2000, the Homebush Bay area was basically a toxic dump marshland that had been polluted for the past 100 years by various heavy industries. Much of the site had to have the topsoil removed and it was going to be completely built over. Near the centre of the Olympic site is an old unused brick pit that had been used as a location for the third “Mad Max” movie “Beyond Thunderdome“. It turns out that the water filled brick pit was the habitat of an endangered species of frog, known as the Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea). The presence of the rare frog led to the brick pit being preserved as a habitat for the frogs. Now the brickpit isn’t the prettiest thing to have in the middle of an Olympic park so some money was thrown it’s way and an amazing ring walk was built in the middle of it.
The ring walk, designed by Durbach Block Architects, is 550m (1800ft) in circumference and 18.5m (60ft) above the ground. The Ring Walk is truly a fantastic solution to preserving habitat whilst still allowing people to enjoy public space. It’s nice to see that our government is starting to realize that cities need to be “livable”. The whole Homebush Bay area is covered with cycling paths and I go cycling at there quite often with my wife, and friend Paul. The brickpit is one my favourite places in the whole of the Olympic park.
My friend Paul is an aficionadao of technology (otherwise known as “shiny kit syndrome”) and as such he has the latest bright and shiny things, such as a beautifully made folding German bicycle called a “Birdy”. Everytime I struggle to get my and my wife’s bike in and out of our car I’m jealous of how easily Paul assembles and disassembles his. All very civilised.
On a technical note the photos were taken with another of Paul’s shiny things, an I-mate JAMin telephone. Whilst the telephone doesn’t take as good photos as my camera, it had the advantage of being with us, as opposed to my camera, which was sitting at home.