Monday, July 18

City Foreshore Ride (25km)

It had been a slightly frustrating week in several ways. I had been dealing with the bank, on-line and by phone, to transfer an account that will reap rewards eventually, though the process seemed like a test of human endurance. Eventually, a chat with a pleasant lady in customer complaints achieved a miraculous improvement in service. When visiting my local branch, my bad impression completely flipped when the teller let me have a free money box. I may be middle-aged, but, I have to say that a green, plastic dragon with a money slit will always make me the bank's BFF. George, (the dragon), is now sitting on top of the fridge gobbling up my loose silver.

I'd also had a case of the sniffles, finding myself in bed rather than visiting friends to admire their recent home decorating and enjoy a yummy casserole. Missing out on home cooking always makes me a little petulant and when I realised I'd had flu last year, also during the Tour De France weeks, my mood escalated to downright cranky. One of the joys (?) of having a robust build is that I normally enjoy robust health. I'm slightly surprised and outraged when I find myself below par.

An antidote was needed and nature played into my hands providing a balmy, sunny Winter's day. I shed the jimmy-jams and took the Surly for a sedate pootle around the Perth foreshore (leaving a pile of soup dishes and tissues behind).

Ten minutes on the train and I was soon heading across the East Perth pedestrian bridge to the riverside.

Cycling along the river's edge I came to the city foreshore. A recent development of a separate promenade for pedestrians has left the lawn with a bit of recovering to do, but, the result is worth it. I upped the speed and shot all the way along the city front without having to play skittles with joggers listening to iPods.

I passed the Bell Tower, Richard Court's phallic symbol. I love bells, but, the tower's performance, as with Mr Court's I'm sure, is less than stellar. The bells sound thin and reedy, almost apologetic. Acoustically, . . . crap! (If I sound a little unappreciative, it's because I, along with every other WA taxpayer, will be paying off  the cost of Dickie's folly for many years to come).

On past the cheerful, touristy Barrack Street jetty where you can catch a boat to Rottnest Island, a ferry across to South Perth or join several wine cruises up through the Swan Valley.

Past the Perth Convention Centre, I headed under the Narrow's Bridge to the less populated cycle path that runs between the Stirling Hwy and the river.

The cycle path veers in front of the Swan Brewery, which isn't a brewery anymore. It's a collection of offices, exhibition space, coffee houses and restaurants, etc. A lovely job has been done with the renovation, giving the building a second life as a Perth landmark. However, I must admit I rather liked it when it was a collection of forgotten, grubby brick walls.

I found myself close to the RPYC, where looking at the 'parking' available, it was better to own sails than wings.

Executing a 'U'-turn I headed back to Matilda Bay Tearooms where I very virtuously enjoyed a refreshing guzzle of water from my drink bottle. I can't believe I even typed that sentence. Where was the coffee, the cake? Well, due to an incredibly efficient metabolism, (I really should be written up in the BMJ), it appears that I can go on a four day, 85 kilometre, self-supporting hike through hilly bush and still put on a kilo or two, Grrrr! I resolutely left my wallet at home, taking only my Smartcard for the train. There is no way I would have managed the eatery-rich pootle without assuming I had earned a calorific reward. My willpower is non-existent.

Heading back to the Narrow's Bridge, this time I cycled over it, and straight into a headwind, to get to South Perth.

The South Perth foreshore, across the river from 'the city', also has a separate cycle way and pedestrian path. It might not be noticeable in the photo, but, the pathway has a couple of rows of cobbles every few metres to dissuade cyclists from venturing onto it.

There was plenty of bird life about, including the black swans that the river is named after. I love white swans. They have a sense of grace and dignity about them. The black ones, well, I don't know if it's their beady, red eye, but, my mind wanders to horrible geese and Muscovy ducks when I encounter them. I'm embarrassed to admit that the only way I think I'd appreciate our much-lauded, black swan is roasted.

On to Burswood and the casino. We haven't the stone dignity of Adelaide Casino here in Perth. For a time, whenever I saw this building, The Who's, 'Won't Get Fooled Again' played in my head. I found this rather bewildering until the association clicked - it's the title tune to 'CSI: Miami'. (Says it all really).

Heading east from the casino is a quiet, tranquil stretch of cycle path. There is the river to the left and the Burswood Golf Course to the right. The latter did more to encourage my riding with a helmet than any draconian WA legislation. The close proximity of those swinging a club (you can hear the 'thwacks') had me glancing skyward regularly.

The sight of the East Perth pedestrian bridge across the river showed that I'd nearly gone full circle.

Hmm . . . proof that my fear of golf-induced concussion may not be unfounded.

A quick cycle across the covered, shared pathway of the bridge and I was back in East Perth, hopping on the train to head home.

Although the ride only had me away from home a couple of hours, trains and photo-shoots included, it was exactly what I needed to crank up to four cylinders again. I tossed the tissues, washed the soup dishes and found myself whistling absentmindedly as I tackled the laundry. Winter sunshine, unlike the roasting of the summer sun, never fails to leave me feeling chipper and pretty darn lucky to be alive.