9.05am arrive in Melbourne, Skybus it to hotel, check in and dump bags and jump in another taxi to first date of the day - the protest ride.
There's nothing I like more than standing up for what I believe in, a little political unrest does us all good and this was right up my alley. Mike Rubbo from Sit Up Cycle had organised a ride to draw attention to the mandatory cycle helmet laws and why they will probably be detrimental to the success of the new Melbourne Bike Share scheme. Of course it will hinder rather than help the scheme be a success, it doesn't take a genius to work that one out so the more attention this gets the better. Will the laws be repealed as they have been in Mexico City ?
Time will tell.
It was a small but spirited turnout and snapping away in the midst of the crowd surrounded by tv crews was Mikael Colville-Andersen, in town for his much anticipated Four Goals for Promoting Urban Cycling talk as part of the State of Design festival. He's disarmingly charming, passionate, funny, cheeky as hell and obviously loves his role as Denmark's unofficial roving Bicycle Ambassador. Who wouldn't ? He strongly believes in what he is doing as do I and it seems the thousands of fans of his various blogs Copenhagenize, Copenhagen Cycle Chic™ and The Slow Bicycle Movement to name but three.
So pictures were taken, the police did what they had promised to do and booked those who decided to ride helmet-less through the streets of Carlton - the horror - and news coverage was obtained from The Age and ABC. Apparently we also made the ABC tv news in Melbourne but I've yet to get my hands on a copy of the segment. With all the lively online commentary over the last few days it would seem the ride was a success. Great to have been a part of it, now let's see the change hmmm ??
(more pics on flickr)
Next stop on the whirlwind bike tour of Melbourne was a quick trip to Gertrude St, spotted lots of nice stationary bikes (quite a theme of this trip) then off to Fed Square for Mikael's talk.
No doubt that it was illuminating and inspiring (and there's that screwball Danish humour again) and he really has hit the nail on the head. His ideas so clearly point the way forward for bicycle culture - lessons to be learned whichever continent you are in.
It was however, followed by a rather dull panel discussion but I suppose that's to be expected when it consists of public service types talking about commuter cycling corridors..... WTF??!!
It left me, and I think the ragtag group of bloggers and bicycle advocates I was with a bit cold. More action and less talk is always my view but hey, call me naive. Is it not just simply about getting on your bike, as you are, going where you need to go in as fuss free a manner as possible ???
So conference over and off for drinks which turned into dinner and more drinks and well more drinks and stumbling back to the hotel at 2.30am quite a little tipsy. A rather wonderful day followed by a rather seedy Sunday. I took solace at the alter that is Rothko before heading back to Sydney, badly hungover but energized for some serious bicycle business.
Great to put faces to my fellow bloggers and tweeters too and meet the lovely Festival ladies on their beautiful bikes !
Tak Mikael for the hangover ;-)