Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Melbourne - how to run a city

I just got back from doing some filming in Melbourne. I'd never been to Melbourne so in my spare time I went exploring. I was very impressed. Melbourne is such a beautiful, liveable city. Everything seemed to be just a little bit cleverer. Street Art, trams, stylish people hanging out in lane-way cafes, beautiful, well planned architecture, heritage, parks but my personal favourite was the bicycle infrastructure. I took lots of photos which you can see here.

It was nice to come back to Sydney, it's so much warmer here! But I really do think we could learn a lot about city planning from our friends in Victoria.

Even the post is delivered by bicycle in Melbourne.

One of the crew told me the best coffee in town was at a place called Cafe Racer down on the promenade at St Kilda. It was a long walk and I was seriously missing my bike by the time I arrived but the coffee was worth it. Imagine my delight when I realised the whole cafe was dedicated to the service of cyclists!

The next day the crew dropped me off in Federation Square where I came across this.

Apparently it was only installed last week! I put my two bucks in and off I went. The bike was a bit heavy and cumbersome but there are no hills so it was pretty cool. I was able to explore the whole cbd in a couple of hours. Everywhere I went friendly people stopped me to ask how the bike was going and remind me that I should be wearing a helmet. (n.b. I soon learned not to admit to being from Sydney, the friendliness evaporates pretty quickly when you say that...)

Another problem was that I didn't have a lock or lights but I'm sure they will sort all that out soon enough. It was pretty awesome. The next day the crew told me that when they filmed the opening of the scheme for ABC news a young woman got fined $110 for not having a helmet after riding just 20 meters! The poor publicity officer probably had a nervous breakdown...

All the kids ride too. Instead of being delivered to school in a huge, child crushing 4wd, you see them wobbling along following Mum or Dad on their bike. They get upset when a car cuts them off but the parents just laugh and say "come on kid, you're alright"

Another funny thing was that I didn't see a single recumbent, even grumpy men with beards ride two wheelers in Melbourne!

And dogs do their own shopping!


Anonymous said...

It's not all beer and skittles down here, but yeah, the inner-city is nice for cycling.

yewenyi said...

As a grumpy man with a beard who rides in Sydney I would make a few points:

1) way back when I rode in Melbourne (on two a two wheeled wedgie) there was no one else riding on the streest of Melbourne so it is great to see how many people are ridin now. I think my quote from a few years back was that I had seen more riders in Melbourne in 1 hour than I would see in Sydney in a year.

2) Clearly you don't get it. Melbourne in the CBD has lots of hills! It's much flatter out west.

Sydney Body Art Ride said...

Well Yewenyi I thought it was pretty flat compared to riding around in Sydney. sure there was the odd little rise but even on the renta-bike it wasn't very hard work.

p.s. I was only teasing about the bearded guy being grumpy...

gih said...

I also love bicycle.