Brought the Brompton down to Melbourne on the plane and met up with Tom Bodycomb, the publisher of the new cycling magazine ‘Treadlie’ who was test riding a spunky new bike for the weekend. Tom escorted me from Federation Square to St Kilda via some of his favourite parks and laneways, reminiscing along the way about his childhood in these parts.
After a stop at the Bookhouse where we each purchased a book (mine a $4 one about ‘Wham’ for LGMCBneeB and his a $15 publication about the landing on the moon including an original mint condition Age liftout), we headed to the Treadie office, or more specifically, to an adjacent cafe called Dr Jerkyll.
I fuelled up on porridge with rhubarb and apple before Tom set me back on the track around Port Phillip Bay to the Spirit of Tasmania terminal. It was a wonderful cycle, despite the chilling wind, with the great expanse of the bay glistening in the intermittent sunshine. From there I took the track up alongside the light rail back into the city and on to the Royal Exhibition Building which was celebrating 110 years since the first Australian Parliament had been held there that very weekend.
Yesterday I ventured along the Yarra River to Como House, another wonderful ride despite having to navigate thousands of pink clad mothers and daughters participating in the annual Mothers Day Classic fun run. More mothers and daughters were gathered at the historic house for a meeting of The Lindy Lee Charm School for Girls, a group “dedicated to reviving the golden age of glamour and etiquette”. Many of the young ladies were dressed in vintage 60s attire complete with pert hats and gloves!
My attire was slightly more practical – a blue pin striped suit with a multi-coloured rabbit fur collar. On the return journey along the river past Mullet Island I was hit by a downpour that held me up under a bridge while I donned the plastic poncho I’d packed for just such a situation. I looked like a bedraggled worker in a nuclear reactor but at least I was dry from the knees up!
At the National Gallery of Victoria’s Ian Potter Gallery I parked the beloved Brompton beside a row of the city’s new blue shared bicycles, a system not dissimilar to the Velib in Paris and an encouraging sign of the new ecological civilisation. Inside the gallery I was transported back to the early 1800′s with the wonderful Eugene von Guerard exhibition ‘Nature Revealed’. With his grand visions of indigenous people at home in the lush fern gullies of Victoria, I pondered of all the things we’ve lost in our mad rush to dominate nature – things that we can just still glimpse, if we imagine hard enough, in hidden grottos on a laid back, free-wheeling treadlie tour.