Outside, my poor Surly looks like a milkman's nag tethered with racehorses. Leederville is seriously Lycra-luvvie territory. One of the gents below is a jogger, the other a cyclist. I find the best way to tell them apart is to wait until they're on the move. Joggers don't have to walk like a duck.
The bike path for this section does actually run flush with the freeway. But, on a Sunday morning there's very little traffic so it's not too invasive.
Here's one of the cycle path signs I mentioned last week.
Because of the low traffic I tend to leave the bike path north of the railway line and wander down through the inner-city 'burbs instead. I pass 'St Brigid's', which is looking a little tidier these days. I spent many happy hours here playing with clay under the guise of studying visual arts. I think Perth Art College found the potters and printmakers a bit messy and smelly (all that earth and ink). St B's was a safe distance away. We were only allowed to return to the main campus for the more respectable core subjects like art history, drawing and design. These days the potters are back on the main campus in a swish new wing with kilns galore and a purpose-built exhibition gallery (no more begging for space). But, the new place doesn't have the wooden staircases, the high ceilings (so cool in summer) or the vine-covered pergola out the back.
I then head down through a residential section and cross through Russel Square.
It used to be a haunt for working girls and, heading to St B's in the early morning, I'd come across the ladies finishing their shift. I don't have much of a maternal instinct, but, seeing the previous night's exotic allure ground down to a bedraggled exhaustion made me want to scoop them up, run them a hot bath, wrap them up in a woolly cardi and cook them brekky. These days the area is a little more gentrified and the girls have moved on. Even now, when I'm tired and a bit frazzled at work, I still think of their utter weariness and realise most of us don't know how lucky we are.
Once in Northbridge I'm almost at the train station. I don't know why riding under this arch always makes me smile. I love riding under things, I think I'd ride under a ladder given the opportunity and hang the bad luck.
100m from the station is the 'Cultural Centre' (I'm not keen on that title. It seems rather a lot to live up to). This is the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, housed in a building that is rather traditional . . .
The new (in the last 25 years) State Library, complete with graffiti . . .
The old State Library which is now incorporated as part of the museum, and . . .
The Art Gallery of WA. Hmm, I should probably have shown you the building, but, I love the fact that, in amongst the sculptures, the formal garden beds have veggies and herbs growing! The naughty part of my brain thinks that, if it appears the plants are going to waste, it might be justifiable for a nocturnal, cycling commuter to glean the lettuces before they go to seed. Just kidding! . . . . (no, really).
Then to the station and home. This Sunday though I got rather a shock. Instead of the usual one or two young sloths snoring as they wait to go home after a night of pubs and clubs, the station was teeming with pert, bright souls in sports gear, some of which was Lycra! There were even babies in 3-wheeled, all-terrain pushchairs. Definite vibes of carrot juice and tofu (both of which I quite like, but, not on a Sunday morning after cake).
For a brief second I thought I had missed an insidious global trend toward mass exercise. I wondered if I was the sole remaining couch-potato. Should I ram-raid the DVD store, stock up on processed carbs and take to my bed in the hope of being rescued? Then I remembered that it was the 'City to Surf Fun Run'. It's a smashing day out for friends and family when they choose to enter a run, or walk, for charity. Tens of thousands turn out to compete and hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised. Transperth does it's bit by giving any competitors wearing their race number a free train ride to the city for the start. I was almost tempted to stay and watch, but, bed was calling (and I'm not convinced that the jogging disease is not contagious).