04 December 2010

Exploring Canberra on My New Bicycle

Greetings all! 

I hope you'll bear with me as I try to catch up on the last few months' worth of activities.  It's been a busy few months and I need to put these posts into bite-sized chunks.

In early December, we'd already done a little cycling around the lake.  We wanted to pop into a bike shop and get a couple of side stands for the bikes - just makes it easier when you want to stop for coffee, to sight-see or for a picnic.  We found one across the road from Bunnings in Fyshwick, an industrial area a few minutes down the road from home. 

Now first let me explain a little bit about distance here in Canberra....  There are not many places you'll go within Canberra where you'll travel more than 15-20 minutes.  So a few minutes down the road literally is just a few minutes.  By car that is.  By bike, it's just a few minutes more!  

So we head off to the bike store for side stands.  Now I'm not sure if you're aware, but I've been adding bits 'n pieces to my Merida mountain bike to try and make the riding position a bit more comfy for me.  Scott says it was starting to look like a Kudu with it's raised custom handlebars! 

My mountain bike with before & after mods on the handlebars.  But it still just wasn't a comfortable riding position for me.

So we're at the bike shop in Fyshwick....  And I fall in love with the Giant Suede!

Giant Suede on the shop floor

Negotiating with Peter, the sales guy, we arranged for a trade in of my Merida and get a discount on the new Suede.  We rushed all the way home to fetch my old bike and rushed aaaaall the way back with the old bike - took all of about half an hour for the round trip, pit stop, drinks break and to load up the bike on the car!

My beautiful COMFORTABLE Suede on the back of the car outside the bike shop

Back home, Scott giving his bike some TLC and getting him ready to meet the beautiful new city girl.

What a gorgeous couple!

Saturday saw us heading off to test out some of the bike paths around the city on my shiny new ride.  Canberra  really does cater for cyclists.  Sydney had very few dedicated bike paths and virtually no bicycle lanes.  Bike paths being away from the road, usually through parks, bushland or beside highways specifically for commuting.  Bike lanes are just that, lanes on existing roads.  Brisbane was better when it came to bike paths and lanes but certainly not covering a very extensive network for commuting.

With fabulous infrastructure planning, Canberra has made cycling a viable mode of transport for recreation, commuting and shopping if you have a carrier & a basket.  You can even get bicycle trailers for cycling with kiddies or for carting groceries.  The Government puts out a walking and cycle map and Where To Ride have also now brought out a Where To Ride Canberra edition.

Look Ma, no hands - the stands work like a charm!

Oh look how beautiful she is....!

Scott beside Lake Burley Griffin with the Carillon in the background - more on the Carillon in a forthcoming post. 

The beautiful Suede and I at the lakeside.

You can even take a cruise on the lake - something we'll definitely get around to doing one of these fine days.

The National Museum of Australia across the lake.  I'm absolutely intrigued by the building itself and can't wait to go exploring.

We happened upon a stunning park along the lake called the Canberra-Nara Peace Park.  It's a small Japanese-themed garden which celebrates the link to our sister city, Nara, in Japan.  Scott had just pulled a wheelie, but I was too slow with the camera.  I know you believe me.... 

Time for a brekkie stop!  And what a find this was - Urban Food Store & Cafe just on the edge of the city.  Plenty of cyclists stopped for the same reason.    

The omelettes were absolutely delish and the coffee was a work of art.

One of the hundreds of sculptures and artistic touches around the city.  This one, The Parcel by Alexander Seton, is carved from green & white marble.

Next stop, Smiths Alternative Bookshop which is also a coffee bar.  At night it transforms into a wine bar where they hold poetry readings, yoga classes and CD launches for local bands.  A very interesting store indeed!  And they had a copy of Where to Ride in Canberra which we bought.

The Canberra Times Fountain

Some 3D pavement art

One of the storm water drains had its cover modified!

The Civic Xmas tree seen through the ACT Memorial

The Canberra Theatre Centre with a woven sculpture on Civic Square

A close-up of the woven sculpture....  what do you think?

Canberra Museum & Galary on Civic Square

The sculpture Ethos outside the Legislative Assembly on Civic Square

Scott making sure his bike still has what it takes on the steps of the gazebo at the centre of Glebe Park in the city centre.

Posing on my beautiful bike through Glebe Park

On The Staircase - a new sculpture in the city.

Time for a cold one at our new favourite pub, The Australian, in the city centre.

Blue Tongue Light on tap - because of course we don't want to get done for drink riding and lose points on our car licences.  I kid you not!

While enjoying the sights, sounds and ice cold beer at The Australian, this jolly bunch arrived for some refreshment on their safari around the pubs of Canberra.  

It was a stunning day, temps around 29 degrees (Celcius) - the elephant and the lion definitely weren't getting the full effect of their beer - sweating it out faster than it took for the alcohol to reach their brains!

The guy skulling the last of his drink had actually bought an original long pant safari suit off the internet.  It was the real deal - that corded fabric.  Railway workers wore these in a brown.  Remember? 

Heading back in the general direction of Barton...

 On our way home, we happened upon the National Bonsai & Penjing Collection of Australia 

Beautifully maintained by the Canberra Bonsai Society, it is small but filled with the most beautiful trees.

This one was really stunning.  An English Elm planted in 1960 - that's 50 years' of close attention to get it to this fairy-like creation.

Sunday morning and we head off the other way around the lake.  Me riding across Parks Way on the Northern side of the lake.  Across the way are the High Court, Parliament House and the National Library (left to right).

The Carillon on Aspen Island - as I said, more about the Carillon in a forthcoming post.

Because it was so hot, we opted not to have coffee at the little mobile coffee stand next to Aspen Island, but a slushy instead.  Scott suffering from an acute ice-cream headache after drinking his slushy too quickly!

Only a few sips in and already he's got a green tongue.  I also had one and, after seeing the colour of Scott's tongue, was scared we'd end up peeing green!  LOL!

Heading across the bridge onto Aspen Island

And back again. 

On Friday, 10 December, just a day after his birthday, was Scott's end of year work party.  They held the party at the company apartment which was within cycling distance of home, so drinking wasn't a problem.  What a great bunch of people!

Looking out onto the deck where it was all happening.

The revelers - notice the number of beer bottles.

Just a few more bottles...

I have no idea where Scott was running to - perhaps after all that beer, to the loo?

Scott's new boss, Greg, and his wife Lee.

The boys trying to bend bottle tops backwards between thumb & forefinger - Scott's got REALLY strong hands!

I hope you've enjoyed this catch up post - don't go too far, there's more to come!


mupersan-1 said...

What a lovely catch up.
As always, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Thanks monster munch!!Smooooch

Mamajoon said...

All that cycling makes my evening walk look really tame! I'm so glad I got to see Canberra, it really wasn't what I was expecting, what a lovely city. Hugs to you both, Mom.

Rose&Thorn said...

Next stop the Tour de France! Might have to forgo the beers and the camera, but you certainly look the part.