Night time wonderland

May 25, 2012 at 00:53 | Posted in bicycles | 1 Comment
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It was a lovely day when I set off for work this morning – a fabulous day for a ride, in fact. It stayed nice all morning, and then in the afternoon the low cloud came in, and it began to rain.

Cold, wet, drizzly rain. I had a rehearsal again tonight, so afterwards faced the delights of a fairly long ride home, on the laden Radish, with no waterproofs or even sensible rain clothing – I was wearing cotton pants and a sweater which had already got quite sodden just from the short ride to the rehearsal venue.

I set off after rehearsal to the commiserations of my fellow musicians. ‘Don’t envy you tonight!’ they called out, as they got into their cars. And as I set off into the traffic, the cold wind whistling through my clothes and the rain soaking my legs I could see the attraction of a warm car.

But no ride is ever really that bad, and I soon started to warm up. And as I reached the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I had real reason to celebrate riding. The low cloud hanging over the city was such that it was obscuring the top of the great arch of the bridge. The lights that illuminate it were casting their glow into the mist, and the structure was clearly visible, lit by an almost ghostly light. The cloud lay over the top, and it looked for all the world like that great bridge was holding up the sky. Really beautiful; I have ridden across that bridge thousands of times, but there are always new surprises.

As I approached the CBD, the taller buildings were too pushing up into the cloud, and right in front of me as I rode was an apartment block; a bright yellow light at the top illuminating the mist like some kind of urban lighthouse. Magical, magical stuff. The cold and wet was forgotten as I surveyed the wonderland around me.

And who else was enjoying these views? Not the poor people in their cars, that’s for sure; peering through their rain splattered windows, the glare of the streetlights blocking out the view. No, my friends were wrong. They should envy me; this wonderful city is putting on a special show and I am the only one getting to see it. And all because I ride a bicycle.


I took a few pictures with my phone, but they don’t really do justice to the views. Still, perhaps you get the idea.



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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