Thursday, 17 October 2013

Free coffee, community breakfast and a sea of lycra

Borrowing a line from a book I am currently reading "One of the best ways to put me in a good mood, is to put me on a bike". I've lost count of the number of times my day has started off a little sluggish or indifferent, but has dramatically improved by the time I get on my bike, riding to work. Come the warmer months and these moments of happiness increase exponentially. I am sure I am not the only one with this suite of emotions.

Bicycle Victoria has been phenomenal in getting the riding movement an impetus by organising fantastic rides and incentives for people to keep riding. As part of their yearly programs, they organise the Ride2Work Day each year around October.
"The Ride2Work Program is a nationally run, year round program that encourages thousands of Australians to get started and keep them riding to work." (Ride2Work)

I've sorely missed participating in this event last 2 years, due to some bizarre reasons:
a. 2011 - Lack of coordination. I had most of the things I needed for the ride in, set up the previous night, but forgot to take care of a puncture.
b. 2012 - No bike! I sold off my old one, hoping I would be in possession of the newer one before the event, but that didn't happen and I was left twiddling my thumbs.

Got my bike off the train at South Kensington this morning and rode the rest of the way to Docklands, one of the locations for the community breakfast. I am usually aware of the number of cyclists that use this path to the city (Riding in 3 degrees), but this morning, the army kept coming. Road bikes, mountain bikes, BMXs, fixies, single-speed, folding – they were all there. The usual route past Costco (the one with the heavenly smell originating from the Costco bakery) was closed off for repairs, so had to do a bit of a detour back of the Costco store. The newly assembled Melbourne Star looked ready, but a tad uncertain. A sea of lycra descended on at the NAB forecourt (Docklands).
There was free coffee (one of those great joys, especially when taken at the end of the bike ride), fruits, scrolls and other goodies. After meandering around the stalls, I got my bike engraved (for easy police identification, should it get nicked) and also contemplated a quick massage. Caffeine was probably the need of the hour, so the queue outside the makeshift coffee joint was enormous. A few non-cyclists also sauntered in, eyeing the freebies on offer.
It was good to see so many people actively riding in to work. I mean, who wouldn't  given Melbourne’s generously flat terrain?
As I wound my way back from the event, braving the crazy winds, along La Trobe St and up Peel St, right alongside a bare and unusually quiet (because of the weekly off) Victoria Market, I couldn't wait to get stuck into my protein/muesli bars, secured liberally at the community event. 

A few more noble souls rode past my workplace, reminding me of a H.G. Wells quote “Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race”.