I thought I would write about my trip to and from work. It's one of the nicer parts of my daily routine: an almost-flat pedal through several pretty and quiet streets of the inner north, beginning or ending with a ride across Princes Bridge where I always slow down, look around at the river and the sky and the buildings and the people, and take the temperature of the day generally.
I travel almost exclusively on separated bike lanes or very quiet little streets and I feel very safe from the traffic. That said there is always a certain amount of yelling and screaming at cyclists that goes on, and this brings me down so very much that I almost always ride with my headphones in so I can't hear the shouting. In the very early morning when there aren't many people on the streets, I sing along. I know it must sound horrible/weird/stupid, but it's fun.
Whether I fang it or cruise doesn't make any significant difference to how long the trip takes. It's always 30-35 minutes. I think this is because crossing intersections etc is what actually dictates travel time rather than variations in speed between those points. Mostly I go as fast as I can because after about twenty minutes, the happy hormones are flowing and I feel utterly, utterly great. One day not long ago I rolled up my street past a neighbour's eyesore of a forty-year-old rotting and sagging post and rail fence with wrecked, lichen-blotched car and mammoth golden diosma bush sprawled in the front yard, and I was so high I suddenly thought it looked really charming, like a sort of postwar migrant's version of shabby chic or a beautifully, almost theatrically composed japanese garden organised on wabi sabi principles. No
There are downsides: as well as the frequent verbal harrassment, there is the extensive nuisance of having to bring a change of clothes to work, shower, get dressed and so forth. That takes half an hour. The upside of this downside though is that I get all the gossip from all over the building, via other women coming in to change their shoes, put on uniforms etc. This often makes for a very useful start to the day: backstory, forewarning, missing links. Also when I use public transport, I get one and a half hours in total where there is nothing to do but read, and this is amazing. It's how I was able to learn a lot of wartime history fairly rapidly last year, but it's also just really pleasurable. I do believe the day will come when it will be socially acceptable and also safe to ride a bike and read simultaneously in this city, but we're not there yet.
Another downside is having to look at advertising on trams, billboards and bus stops. Horribly today I played a kind of tag all down Swanston st today, from Melbourne Uni right through to Domain, with a d-class tram (worst sort of tram anyway, foul and stupid) that was decorated with pictures of two young actors grimacing in pain, shame and horror, as I would have been if, like them, I was snapped while wondering how my recently begun career in showbusiness, once such a thing of freshness and promise, had so swiftly sunk into the rancid mud-filled shell crater that is appearing in a commercial with Eddie Macguire.
yes you can do better. you can!
young man, whoever you are, you just don't need to degrade yourself like this. I know it might seem right now like you have to take whatever work is offered to you, rent and food are important, but something else always turns up - and you really don't want to find yourself, forty years' hence, having to explain to your descendants why it seemed like a good idea at the time to accept a job being photographed standing next to Eddie "dead-eyed pistol-fingered fat misogynist arsehole" McGuire.
And Yarra Trams, oh boy, you can DEFINITELY do better.