“Riding along on my pushbike honey, when I noticed you.
Riding down town in a hurry honey, down South Avenue.
You looked so pretty, as you were riding along
you looked so pretty as you were singing this song.
Round, round wheels going round round round
Down up pedals going down up down
But I got to get across to the other side of town
Before the sun goes down….”
Pushbikes are very much part of Melbourne, why? Well there are a few reasons…the main one is Melbourne is quite a flat city, which of course makes it easy to ride a bike, another is that the city is a grid city, making it easy to navigate, another is leading into the city you have many parks, so your not dealing with heavy traffic (watch out for the ducks and swans around Albert Park) and Melbourne has very wide roads/streets (in most cases) so it has been easy to create bike lanes and the another is each bike takes a car of the roads, less pollution and one less person on public transport, but for me the main reason is, it’s a wonderful way to keep fit and the share freedom of the wind on your face, plus you take notice of the beauty that is Melbourne.
The bike has been around a long time, as a cheap and reliable form of transport, I still reminisce riding my bike to school, hanging out with other kids, forming a bike gang…those were the days! But kids hanging out on bikes is back again as it’s cool again for kids to ride bikes.
On the main roads leading into the city at peck hour there are often 15-20 bikes waiting for the traffic lights to change there are bike parking bays all over the city or they are just chained up to poles. The state government has just announced a new express bikeway that will come from the western suburbs right into the city, yep with no stops. So much has been written about the push bike and many songs, like the song I started this blog with.
The pushbike has become quite fashionable, with people spending big bucks on a bike, you can always tell an expensive bike as the designs are amazing and quite often colourful, there are people who are dressing their bikes up, a neighbour has a bike that a friend painted in leopard print, looks great, although she never rides it, it just sits in her apartment!
As you know I live on the bay at St Kilda and as in most cities on weekend all the many bike clubs come out in mass all dressed in Lycra (which a lot of them shouldn’t) its that pack-mentality, as they are quite arrogant on the roads and don’t start me on them being in cafes at the end of their ride!…end of rant.
Now let’s get back to the art of bikes, last year the NGV (which is now in the 20 most visited art museums in the world) held an exhibition last year by Andy Warhol and the wonderful Chines artist Ai Weiwei who had a huge insulation of bike frames in the foyer as part of the exhibition www.ngv.vic.gov.au . An apartment bock in the city on Spencer St, has an installation of bikes up the side of its walls and I was in a “way-cool” home design store – www.weylandts.com.au; in Collingwood the other day and they had artwork on the walls, yep you guessed it made out of bike frames. Then along the Yarra River in South Wharf a café use bikes as their fencing and I turned the corner there was a guy sitting on a peddled rickshaw waiting to take people on a ride (taxi ).
Then in one of my favourite laneways in Melbourne and the most famous Street Art lanes – Hosier Lane has an insulation of bike wheels with crochet around the spokes ( check out www.YarnCorner.com.au )… the art of a bike is endless!
With this interest in the bike, there are some really cool bike stores around these days, gone is the baggy bike store…in St Kilda there is a new pushbike store on the Paris end of Fitzroy Street www.justpedal.com.au one of the owners is Josh he really has a passion for what he does and his dog is there every day so you get to pat a dog. Another store I really like is in the South Melbourne Market – Spin South Melbourne, the look is very colourful with lots of flashing lights, offering a large range of bikes, they also have skateboards, balance bikes, scooters and lots of accessories. And of course the city has lots of stores like CBD Cycles and Cycles Galleria on Bourke St.
Some business are using bikes to advertise, its cheap all you do is attach the ad and chain it to a bike rake.
Who would have thought that the humble pushbike isn’t so humble anymore, it’s part of our culture…GET ON YOUR BIKE AND RIDE!!!!!