Waving through the barbed wire

April 9, 2011 at 22:46 | Posted in bicycles | 3 Comments
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On the way home on Friday, I happened to be riding across the Sydney Harbour Bridge at the same time a cruise liner was passing underneath. It was quite a sight, and along with many other cyclists I stopped to watch it go by, and wave to the passengers crowded on the deck below.

Many of them waved back, and the height of the vessel meant they were close enough to call out to as they went underneath. “Goodbye!” they called, and “Thank you Sydney!”.

At the time I was thinking that how nice it was that these holidaymakers last memory of Sydney would be being waved off by a bunch of friendly cyclists as they passed under the iconic bridge. However, on reflection, I actually think it would have looked more like a bunch of prison inmates frantically trying to get attention; arms thrust through the narrow gaps in the barbed wire fencing.

This is because, Australia being a Nanny State par excellence, people using the walkways and cycleways of the lovely Sydney Harbour Bridge are penned in by three metre high fencing on all sides that curves in at the top to clearly display the vicious barbs on the topmost wires. It’s fairly horrible, and in huge contrast to, for example, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco. Another iconic bridge over a harbour but there people are free to enjoy the views unimpeded.

Still, it was a fun experience that made a nice start to the weekend. Oh, and if you ever happen to be in the same situation, be aware that large ships sound their whistles when passing under bridges – which can be very loud when you are only a few metres above the smokestacks…


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  1. ESP! I’ve often thought very same thing & even made very same comparison re San Fran GG bridge to 2 of my kids last month as we cycled-on over!

  2. Although I can relate to this post, the tragic reality is,they build these fences to prevent people from leaping over the edge,and in a recent case on the Westgate bridge,to prevent parents from throwing thier children over.Sadly, the Golden Gate bridge is San Francisco’s main ‘departure point’.

  3. The other day there was a guy the bridge riding a unicycle which must have had a saddle 2 metres off the ground. For his sake I was glad the fence was so high!

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