Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It's been HOW long? Ooops...

So much for posting on a daily or almost daily basis. It's been a month. We've had people staying with us and have been touring around - to the NSW south coast, to Canberra,to the Hunter Valley, as well as playing tourists ourselves in Sydney as we showed our Scottish visitors around the city.

Sydney isn't as bike-friendly as Melbourne. Bike racks in the downtown area are not utilised as well as they could and should be, but then it's a brave cyclist who takes on aggressive Sydney drivers, particularly in the city itself. That being said I did see some nice bikes around, particularly some 80s vintage ladies' cycles; however my camera wasn't at the ready and these bikes were in full flight, carrying their riders sturdily.

Canberra is a cycle city. In fact there's a shop which combines bicycle and coffee culture quite nicely in Kingston:
A peek through the window showed tables in front and bikes in back. My visitors aren't really cycling people so I didn't dash in to get a fuller measure of what was inside, but a brief inspection through the front door showed the back of the shop laden with city bikes, road bikes and fixies.
But my favourite bike photo from my touring comes from the farm cottage where we stayed. The owner has created a little paradise (more in another post), with touches that really make this place a special haven in which to relax. This poor bike below...many years ago she was abandoned cruelly by the holidaymaker who propped her against the shed, forgetting even about the flowers so carefully chosen and picked from the roadside, and dashed inside for a cup of tea.
Poor thing! She must have been a very graceful creation in her day. She wasn't a brand I recognised - the headbadge was so rusted it didn't make much sense, especially with me lifting the basket of flowers with one hand and trying to shove my compact camera under and around with the other. It looks like a bow, doesn't it? Aside from the pretty headbadge the bike has been plainly built: lugs, but not fancy ones. As always when I see a sight like this I long to have the knowledge and capability (and money) to do a restoration job, as her geometry looks very comfortable. I doubt her owner would let me, though - I've been coming to this place for ten years and the bike has been there all that tine (so, actually, have the plastic flowers!). She's a landmark on the property.

As for bikes I can ride, the hot humid weather broke over Easter, and I was able to take Petunia on a good long run rather than just around the block or to the shops. I hadn't had a decent ride on her for ages - she had a broken valve in her back tyre I didn't fix over summer as it became clear it was a summer from hell and too sticky to do much riding. Any riding I did was on Penelope. Oh dear... it felt so weird riding Petunia again! I had trouble balancing. I even had to put the saddle down nearly two inches, as I'd also lost the art of mounting the proper way and needed to have a toe on the ground. After an hour I was used to her again, but still not as confident on her as I was last year.

So lots of relearning for me and Petunia. Penelope has spoiled me with her lovely balance and relaxed geometry. I'm so glad it's autumn, riding weather! Now... if only it would stop raining :-)

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