Friday, May 16, 2008

Canberra trip

The Canberra Bicycle Museum has a wonderful collection of bikes ranging from the pre-safety 'hobby horses' right through to today's carbon time trial bikes. There were also some amazing creations including an ice bike, tandem unicycle (yes it is possible) and war bike with spring tires. Its well worth a visit if your in Canberra. There is also a great collection of films and archive materials that you can go through in the library. Unfortunately its only open on Wednesdays.

Dreams on Wheels
(don't despair, its coming to Sydney and Melbourne!)
The Dreams on Wheels exhibition has been setup to celebrate the re-openning of the Danish Embassy, and what better way to celebrate Danish culture than the bicycle. The exhibition presents and excellent overview of how the bicycle is intergrated into everyday life within Denmark. The exhibition celebrates Danish bicycle manufactures, Danish urban planning (with the work of Jan Gehl), and the history of competitive cycling. On the night I was there, Stephen Hodge gave a wonderful lecture on the Paris-Roubaix giving a first hand account of the cobbles and the experience of being a domestique for riders such as Sean Kelly in the late 80s. We then watched the Danish doco "A Sunday in Hell" on the 1976 Paris-Roubaix which was the best cycling doco I've ever seen.

ANU is a probably the best campus for cycling in Australia. While I was there I visited the university's sustainability office ANUGreen. There is an excellent set of facilities for bicycle parking across the uni. ANU also has a bicycle co-op giving students bicycles for $50. The bicycles can then can be sold back to the co-op for $30 once students have finished their degrees. The uni also runs a 'Go Green, Get Lean' program. I found out that 40% of students and staff travel to uni by either bicycle or public transport. I also found out that if you take your bike on a bus in Canberra, you don't have to pay a fair. It appears to be the complete opposite as to what we have in Sydney where you can't take a bike on the bus, and if you take one on the train you pay double. Clearly we're still in the Dark Ages.
Canberra is a great city to cycle around, however I noticed that the drivers were actually more aggressive that I thought. I think most people in Canberra use the footpaths and the off-road bicycle lanes. So, when a roadie like me turned up, the car drivers were probably less used to seeing someone take the lane. I took my fixie down on the bus. It worked out to be the perfect bike to travel with because if I was traveling with a bike with a dereailuer and gear-levers, they would probably be much more vulnerable to damage. It took only 5mins to pull my fixie out of its soft bike bag then put it back together. The flat terrain of the city also made it perfect for cycling with only one gear.
No gears, is no problem in Canberra.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The bike is a glorious cross between modern and classic lines. The old school look with modern power, the bike was a beauty and I just didn’t see it.Bikes Canberra