Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brompton goes north for the winter

Pic fm Holiday-WA.net

Its quite common for many West Australians to head up north for warmer weather this winter. My friend Rod and his wife are doing just that, taking a 600km drive for a winter holiday. He was worried about not getting enough exercise so I offered him my Brompton.

Folded into a compact package in an Ikea Dimpa bag, its easy to transport just like another piece of luggage in the boot of his Forester. And it comes into its own forte for morning discovery rides around beautiful Kalbarri.

There was only one request I ask of Rod, and that was to take some pics of the Brompton in action up there where it is comfortably much warmer. Stay tune for hopefully great pics!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cold here, wet there!

Its official! Winter is finally here with a vengence. Sadly, there goes my morning bike rides. Today, it hit minus 2c at 5am and at 8am, it was still a freezing 1c.

I really look forward to my trip to Singapore next week to ride in warm weather for a change but then again, I'm hearing flash floods everywhere in the island. Probably need to get a folding canoe if this keeps up.

Think its time to take global warming seriously and we all do need to play our part.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Onwards to Freo

Freedom to discover! This is what cycling is all about. In our usual rides to Point Walter, I've often wanted to press on 8km more to Fremantle, the historical portside city of Western Australia but somehow couldn't. Well recently, I managed to do just that.

Fremantle has a really old world European charm about it. Founded in 1829, the many heritage buildings such as Fremantle Prison, Round House, Clock Tower together with abundance of Victorian and Georgian styled architecture sprinkled along the quiet lanes make me feel like I've just teleported myself to a small town in Cornwall.

The bike path straight to Freo was excellent and clearly marked, skirting along the beautiful Swan River until hitting Freo. I was amazed to cycle pass the holding area of the Fremantle Port where hundreds of brand new cars from all over the world were awaiting their new owners. Going pass that led to E-Shed Markets where it is the tourist/shopper's paradise.

I was particularly charmed to see all the artsy designs along the quay and this one about a woman's need for man and bicycles really got me in stitches.

Fremantle is also famous for its original markets, which is more than 100 years old. They open only on weekends and sell clothes, art and crafts, fresh food as well as all sorts of nibbles.

There is also a very strong coffee culture with numerous Italian sidewalk cafes, trendy beer cafes and great restaurants serving signature seafood cuisine. The famous Cicerellos proudly states they serve WA's No 1 Fish and Chips. I can't vouch for their claim but seriously,I think there are so many creative ways of cooking fish than just deep-frying breaded fish, popular as it may be.

When it was time to go home, I took the easy way out. I jumped into the train unfolded with great wonderings about catching the ferry to Rottnest Island for my next discovery!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The craziest stunt on a Tikit ever!

Pic courtesy of Bike Friday

There are a lot of crazy people in this world but as far as the folding world is concern, those folks at Bike Friday really deserve to take the cake.
Imagine going up on a hot air balloon 31km into space and jumping off - with a Bike Friday Tikit. Rob English, who had a hand in designing the Tikit, did just that and more. At 35,000 ft, he unfolded the Tikit and landed upon planet earth on two 16" wheels!
Read more about it here:

Strangely, I feel very proud and excited about what those fun loving, innovative folks at Green Gear did. You know what? Crazy can sometimes be good!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Seeking Wisdom

Its always great to have good friends visit. My young friend Henry and his mom came through to Perth recently and he wanted to check out UWA. I took the opportunity to stroll down memory lane with my Brompton and recalled the times I enjoyed as a Grad Student 12 years ago.

Its arguably one of the most beautiful campus in Australia and its easy to see why. Lots of green lawns, sandstone historical buildings, spacious grounds and situated just by the pristine Swan River.

I also spotted 2 foldies at the bike rack. One Giant Halfway and another brand unknown to me, Ezy Ride. It was exciting to see those foldies!

UWA's motto "Seek Wisdom" is very noble. King Solomon, from the Old Testament, could ask for anything when he acceeded the throne from his father King David and guess what he asked for?

Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don't, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours. God said: "Solomon, I'm pleased that you asked for this. You could have asked to live a long time or to be rich. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom to make right decisions. So I'll make you wiser than anyone who has ever lived or ever will live." 1Kings 3 v 9-12

Perhaps it is prudent for all of us to take a leaf from King Solomon and continue our journey in seeking wisdom wherever we are. I wish you "wisdom" from above Henry, as you begin a new phase of your life.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A winter's day

A winter's day are the first words of Simon and Garfunkel's song, "I am a rock". The lyrics border on loneliness, depression and being hurt, so much so that its best to seek solitude by building walls and withdrawing from people.

One verse particularly is very sad...

I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.

My first ride this second day of winter was very much the direct opposite of Garfunkel's song. Instead of a deep dark December, it was a bright sunny winter's day in June with a crisp 5.5c morning.

The burst of first light, casting long shadows made for a photographer's dream. Though it was cold, it warmed up quickly partly due to working out on a bicycle. I was trying to catch up with my buddies Rod and Ken as I thought I was late. Turned out they were later so I had some time to take advantage of the morning light with my trusty Canon as I awaited them at Canning Bridge. There was so much to capture and I was thrilled when a Pelican came gliding past me ever so graciously.
I have been lazy and not joined them for a while. Hence, I have forgotten their warm smiles, hearty laughter and friendly faces so it was really great to be with my mates again. We did our normal 32km ride to Point Walter and somehow, the ride seemed too short with good friends. As usual, surprises came our way.

I bet this pose inspired Batman, don't you think?

I saw a really antique Brompton ridden by a British lady on her morning ride. The red curve of the frame is instantly recognisable. She had brought it all the way from the UK and it was really nice to enjoy a short chat with another foldie rider.

It was also encouraging to meet a 3 wheeler bike on the path. The elderly gentleman seemed to be having fun and it inspired me that the joy of cycling can still be discovered in our later years.

What a perfect morning it was! If only Simon and Garfunkel took up cycling, he may have written the song, "A Winter's Day" a little bit different.

Wise words from Ecclesiastes 4 v 9-10
It's better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth, (share the journey for us bikers). And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there's no one to help, tough!