Thursday, October 14, 2010
I love the city of Melbourne!
I’ve just driven Daughter Number 2 to the Melbourne Exhibition Centre to sit her penultimate exam and I have a few hours to kill before she’ll emerge with that glad-it’s-over-but-not-really-sure-how-it-went feeling. I’m sitting beside the Yarra sipping a perfectly chilled sauvignon blanc on a perfectly warm evening. There are suited business people all around, winding down after a hard day at the office and t-shirted casual types just out enjoying the view. The architecture is interesting, the river is languid and the atmosphere is relaxed.
Helemeted, lycra-clad, back-pack toting cyclists weave seamelessly in and out of family groups, meandering couples, tourists with maps and people just wandering and wondering what wonderful Melbourne-food they should choose for dinner. As I watch the passing parade, I can’t help but wonder what Swedish cyclists would think of the casual and flowing, “lane-free” approach to cycling on this promenade and I’m also wondering if cyclist behaviour is learned thing or a temperament thing. Are Swedes organised and linear and do Aussies go with the flow?
Bicycle lanes in Stockholm are clearly defined and heaven help the unsuspecting tourist who should step into the path of a determined, destination-oriented cyclist! I have been the target of the occasional expletive and the aggressive ringing of bicycle bells when I have inadvertently violated the Swedish cyclists' sanctioned space. My husband and I have often joked that if we’re to meet our demise in Stockholm, we’re more likely to be taken out by a bike than a car! Here the pace is slightly slower but the bicycle and pedestrian blend lends some pleasing grace and artistry to the otherwise pragmatic endeavour of two-wheeled commuting. There’s no bell-ringing and it all just seems to work.
Note: My grainy iPhone picture does no justice to this most photogenic city. For some excellent local shots see http://www.melbournephotos.net.au/