I went on Spring Cycle 2009. I had been thinking about going for some time, and was talked into it by my fellow riders. I headed up to the first meeting place, Macca’s Cycle Shop and quickly discovered that I had forgotten something. The Marrickville Road festival closes off the road early to allow the setting up of the stalls. So I ended up riding along the footpath for some of the way. We then headed off to Enmore to meet the others. I was riding with Jimmy on his 36″ unicycle and Nada and Suzie on their normal bikes.
We followed the path I would normally take into town from Enmore. Riding behind Newtown’s main street and then through Redfern to Prince Alfred Park, through the city to Pitt street and then down Clarence street to the harbour bridge. I showed the others the way I would go through the city, but Jimmy headed down George Street as his unicycle was not good for stop start riding. We crossed over the harbour bridge on the bicycle track. There were many offers of help to carry the trike down the steps at the far end. I also met a couple of women at the bottom of the stairs that I had met on the Cycle Queensland ride. Though I did not have any time to stop.
We climbed up the hill into North Sydney, heading up Miller Street. We passed the starting line about 5 minutes prior to the start heading in the opposite direction. We joined the queue for the start. There were a lot of people here. I lost contact with the others Suzie went to join the people she rides with in the morning to work. And Jimmy and Suzie were further up the line that I was. I saw at three other trikes. Two that were the same and were of a type I had not seen before. I only saw them in the distance and I could not even get a photo. I also saw one other rider on a GT3. There was also a three person bike. It had two adults and one child. At first I thought the child was sitting on the second rider’s handle bars, but then noticed that the child had a seat and pedals.
They were letting riders out in bunches. By about 7:15 I was on my way. It was a quick ride back down the hill, through Berry Street and onto the Harbour Bridge heading south. We got the two left lanes, that were once used by the trams.
It was a short ride over the bridge and then a zig-zag route down into the rocks and around the rocks, past the first rest stop, without stopping, then up onto the Western Distributor, before descending down into Pyrmont. We avoided the bike tracks and headed across on the rarely closed Glebe Island Bridge, avoiding Anzac Bridge. Later when I rode over the bridge I though that they probably thought that there were sections that were not suitable for thousands of riders.
In Rozelle they had built a contra flow lane for the bike ride. A few people missed the start of it and it was very narrow. We then rejoined the main bike route to the west. I had not ridden this before so it was a good time to learn the route. We rode down Lillyfield Road, through Lillyfield. An enterprising bike shop had set up a stand to give out drinks. I should have stopped, but did not.
We then headed into Habberfield along the Hawthorn Canal, before turning right and heading back up into Rood Point. Here was the second rest stop at the Five Dock Park. I met up with Jimmy and Nada again and we headed off as a group into Five Dock. There were a frew steep hills here. A couple of Irish lads raced me up the steepest and it was a bit of a dead heat. They kindly offered to swap my trike for their bikes. I declined the offer.
We rode together for a while but became separated. Jimmy rode off ahead and Nada had a problem with her chain and had to stop. I stopped in Rhodes Park and grabbed some food. But it turned out to not be the proper rest stop which was only a short ride down the road at McIlwain Park. As we were waiting at different parks, we missed each other.
We crossed over the Parramatta River over the Ryde Bridge, road along the river trough Meadowbank and came back over the John Whitton Bridge, which was once the mail Rail Line Bridge.
This brought us back into Rhodes and then Liberty Grove. It was good to be on a ride where I was much fitter than most of the other riders. I spent most of the ride passing people. It was only the racers who were passing me.
Now we were on the last leg. We rode into Homebush Bay, over Powell’s Creek and then did a circuit around Bicentennial Park. I had been on home turf since getting to Rhodes and was just riding paths I had already ridden many times before.
We then rode into the Olympic Park along Olympic Boulevard. It was a gentle way to end the ride. There was the extra 10 km option at the end, but I did not take it. It turned out that the others had taken this option so it was some time before we met up again.
I spent some time in the finishing area. There were lots of tents with bicycle stuff, table, chairs and food. There was also some music and a stage for the presentation. While I was eating lunch, I bumped into G. He had not been on the ride but had a date to meet up with some women who had been on the ride. I also saw some hand-powered trikes and stopped to talk to one man who was riding one.
I did meet up with Jimmy and Nada once they had come back from their extra 10 km ride. Jimmy was in a demonstration game of unicycle hockey which is very similar to ice hockey. So we waited around watching this game. If you follow the link you can see the short video I took. I had forgotten to put the old mobile on the charge and so videoed until the battery died. One of the players is a unicycle busker and had moves the others could only marvel at.
The others grabbed some lunch, G met up with his girl friends and we had a look around the stalls before heading back along the cooks river trail. There were some interesting bikes. I saw the nice American wood lined bike racks for the first time outside of the internet and some unusual Dutch trike designs for carrying children and cargo. I also picked up a good quality map of the northern side of the Parramatta River from Bike North. When we returned we stopped at the Marrickville Road Cafe before splitting up and heading home.