This rambling monologue is a week late, but better late than never. So, last weekend I went riding in Melbourne with Kate and Claire. It was my first ride since arriving here about a dozen years ago. And it was great, but it was one of the worst rides I’ve ever had.

I might not have ridden in Melbourne before, but I assume that bikes here are meant to work pretty much like bikes anywhere else. I hired my bike from Hire a Bike (on the river near Fed Square, phone number 03 9654 2762). Initially it seemed okay, but a few minutes into the ride I found that the seat was loose and would rock backward and forward as my weight shifted. Then, when I was over an hour into the ride, the handlebars loosened and rotated. It made it impossible to ride it, but luckily we were stopping at around that point anyway.

We had ridden along the Yarra River to the Collingwood Childrens Farm and had lunch at Lentil As Anything cafe in the nearby Abbotsford Convent. The cafe wouldn’t lend me a spanner (I’m not sure they even knew what one was), but the adjacent bakery was kind enough to lend me one and I fixed the seat and handlebars. I bought some nougat and florentines from them in return, and because they were very tasty.

It was a beautiful day, and as we rode along the river, I saw Melbourne from a perspective that I’d never seen before. Cycling on the trail, you can almost feel that you’re in a different city. There are places where the river is peaceful, only a few, old houses can be seen, and the green banks hide the suburbs around. You won’t see these places if you drive in Melbourne, or travel by train, but only by being on that bike path.

It reminds me a little of when we were in London, and your mode of travel set your perspective on the city. If you travelled above ground, you would think the city was laid out completely diferently than if you just travelled on the Underground. And just before we left, we met someone who lived and travelled on London’s canal system. It would’ve been good to try that as well – I think it would’ve been pretty amazing.

Anyway, it was pretty amazing to cycle along the Yarra. Although after that loose seat, I had a really sore butt.