Posts Tagged ‘ CBD ’

Spring Cycle 2010 In Pictures

More than a few occasional cyclists will be nursing saddle sores and stiff legs after completing yesterday’s Spring Cycle. Judging by the digits on the issued rider numbers well over 10,000 people (on everything from top end racers and blinged out fixies to recumbents and rusty old supermarket bikes) took part, riding either the 50km route from North Sydney, or the 35km Cooks River route, finishing at Sydney Olympic Park.

Getting up stupidly early, we saw the competitive early starters zooming along as we headed in the opposite direction to get to the start. Trains groaned with the unusual number of bikes on the early morning service, leading to an end-of-escalator pile up as we were all disgorged at North Sydney. Departing in the ‘family and recreation’ group proved more perilous than the name suggests: having a lot of unpractised riders and swerving kids in one place is a recipe for disaster, and unsurprisingly we witnessed a large-ish pile up as one fall led to others, and a few people by the side of the route recovering after a tumble. Nevertheless, the event went well and everyone enjoyed the rare opportunity to ride across the ‘other’ side of the Harbour Bridge, and my favourite moment, going across the Glebe Island Bridge.

As the day wore on and the heat intensified, the rest stops were more and more crowded with exhausted bodies, and the sense of relief was palpable when Stadium Australia (or whatever it’s called now) hove into view. Unfortunately for those with tiring legs, there was at least another 10kms of looping around Olympic Park before the finish line. Thanks to Bicycle NSW, and all the volunteers for making the event such a great day! And congrats to all the youngsters who slogged through the route to finish and embarrass plenty of the adults!

If you’re considering doing it next year, here are some tips:
• Sunglasses and sunscreen. Do NOT forget them like I did…
• If you want to go fast, get in the early start group rather than mowing down kids later in the day.
• Take care on the ride – it’s not a peloton of trained professionals, and you never know when the person in front will slow suddenly or a kid will swerve in front from nowhere.
• Be courteous getting too and from the event – Sydney’s trains and ferries aren’t used to carrying that many bikes at once.
• Don’t stop when you get off an escalator!

Have you got any tips (or gripes) when riding in big events like this?


Ride To Work Day, Hyde Park

Today is Ride To Work Day – did you? If you did, and you work in the CBD, then hopefully you enjoyed the free breakfast and various stalls at Hyde Park this morning. Our Lord who art in Mayordom (Clover be thy name) was there, doing her bit for the new cycleways – you can now ride all the way from the Harbour Bridge to the Anzac Bridge on bright green paint. But watch out, that green stuff (when freshly laid down) can be slippery in the wet!

The Hyde Park event was a nice excuse to share a bit of the bike love, although the comments here show that it can also act as a target for the anti-cycling crowd. Something particularly handy at today’s event was the presence of free mechanical checks and physios to assist newer riders in making sure their bike is running ok, and fitted properly for them. Having spent a while riding an undersized, poorly-tuned, second-hand bike (thankfully some bike thieves eventually took it off my hands), I know a tune up and tips on riding position can go a long way in helping someone keep riding, rather than dumping the bike back in the garage.

Coming in via Pyrmont, it was nice to see local businesses piggy-backing on the event and seeing the cycleways as a positive (in stark contrast to the class-less naysayer opposing the Bourke St cycleway) with the local cafes banding together and passing out vouchers for a free coffee to the cyclists, encouraging them to stop in for a drink before heading to the office. Nice touch.

Sydney Design Festival: Last Chance

The Sydney Design Festival wraps up on the 15th so this weekend is your last chance to get out and make the most of it. Here’s a choice selection of what’s still on…

The Australian Architecture Association are conducting walks covering Sydney’s city architecture and architectural history. Both are on this Saturday to coincide with the festival, but they are held throughout the year ($30).
Urbanwalkabouttours have a design lovers tour of Surry Hills offering insights and discounts at various boutiques (Sat 14th, $75).
And of course you can still join in with the Small Stories Big Picture self-guided photography tour of Surry Hills on Saturday (free).

Dinner. On a bike.
Ride On Dinner hosted by Object Gallery is the cycling-est event left on the programme, and it sounds like a blast. Bring along a bike, join your fellow travellers/diners in a ride around town and have dinner served to you by the ride on dinner folks who have been running similar events with great success in Melbourne. (Sat 14th, $20)

I’ve got a soft spot for Usyd’s Tin Sheds Gallery – in my distant youth I spent some work experience time with the university’s art collection and way back then they were already talking about knocking it down. Amazingly, the gallery is still there, despite the developmental metamorphosis (ooh, see what I did there?) undergone by the University. On top of that, a show based on Architecture students responding to Ovid’s tales appeals to both the classics-geek and design-buff in me. (until Aug 28, free)

If you haven’t been able to find the time during the festival, or prefer to do things with earphones in rather than talking to people, the Audio Design Museum has a collection of audio-tours that you can download and use to guide yourself around town… or it will, from the 18th. (any time, free)

Sydney Tweed Ride

Tweeders posing 'neath the bridgeSome people ride bikes because they like to go fast. Some people ride bikes because they like to get muddy. And some people ride bikes so they can dress up. London’s tweed run has been transported to the colonies, and 2010 saw the second running of the Sydney Tweed Ride. A piece in the smh alerted me to it, and eventually led to, which seems to be a great source for all things bike going on in Sydney.

The event itself was just spiffing: ladies and gents dressed in their dapperest attire braved a cold mid-winter morn to gather at Town Hall. A gentle ride around the mostly deserted CBD finished in a picnic in Alexandria and some bike polo. The ride was well organised and managed by people simply doing it for fun, and it couldn’t have been a better advertisement for Sydney cyclists. Drivers honked in appreciation, rather than anger. Pedestrians looked on the tweedy peloton in admiration and amusement, rather than the disgust and disdain usually reserved for lycra-clad weekend riders. Apparently one passerby asked “What are you protesting about?” … Nothing except sartorial inelegance! For me it was a perfect way to rediscover cycling in Sydney, surrounded by friendly fellow riders and being led around some of the quieter streets so I know how to avoid the main roads in future.

At the ride I bumped into an old uni friend, Nick, whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. He was in the smh photo for the event: I hadn’t recognised him in print, but in person we recognised each other almost immediately and got to chatting. Turns out he has become quite a serious cyclist – he suggested we meet up for a ride on the weekend… turns out he meant a 200km audax ride! It sounds like something I’d love, but having been out of the saddle for months, it might take a while to be able to handle something like that… we’ll see.

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