Road trip ping, fuelled by endorphins, memories and discovery:
Setting out with only a vague mental map of an intended destination, I settled in for the journey ahead on my trusty steel steed ‘Pedro’.
BJ.CP, Kensington, Eastlakes then on to Mascot. At the bottom of Coward Street I pick up the Alexandria Canal around the airport (some serious plane spotting here) to Tempe. I then connect with the Cooks River cycleway west of the Princess Hwy and on on through the back of the burbs.
I continue to be surprised at how the changing demographic of the Inner West has delightfully sculptured local community areas. It is about here that the Aldi dark chocolate consumed with breakfast starts to kick in like an afterburner (I never said that I don’t cheat).
At the back of Campsie by some tennis courts and under the trees I stop for lunch at a picnic table. The Vietnamese hot bread chicken and salad role with fiery red bullet chillies purchased at Mascot from an acclaimed vendor, hits the spot. Fuelled and emptied in one session I leave the bike track heading up into Campsie shopping precinct. These areas promote a distant recall. I traversed them in the old MGTF to pick up flames of the nearly forgotten past. Marilyn Schultz at Belmore, whose eccentric father was the local GP, and Rhonda at Concord, whose father had the largest building company in the area. There is a Rhonda Place in Concord. These were the back ways also to my mates and friends at Carlingford, Epping and Cheltenham, tentacles of a cosmopolitan schooling. I racked up some Ks in that old jalopy.
Without identification of major roads I never really know exactly were I am. Keeping to the back streets I continue to weave my way in a general direction, reckoning with the sun. Belmore then Lakemba. The streets are closed to motorists at Lakemba for a festival. I stop briefly. Except for engaging with the local Greens candidate pedalling her philosophy, it was difficult to recognize this as Australia. Canterbury next, I think, then through the back streets of Roselands where we went as a family to the first mega shopping mall in Australia when it opened.
More back streets of Beverly Hills and Penshurst roll by as I enter Hurstville and around to the south side of the rail station. I stop briefly, still straddling the bike to remember my ‘naughty boy’ experience with Brenda on the station. Nearly all boys new, or wanted to know a Brenda. Every Brenda came exitingly well equipped. These were the days when the ‘steamer’ from the South Coast stopped at Hurstville, only one of several city stops. You could catch it to Redfern or Central, then make the change to a now defunct Museum Station. Too much ‘naughty boy’ rememberance energy being expended here. I also do not recognize this new community.
On on through South Hurstville (any prosperity over the years has by-passed this part of town) down through the back roads to Carrs Park. The foreshore parklands at Carrs Park are hosting a cultural festival. Again, the street barriers are no impediment to a cyclist. Now I need to dismount to cut through about 25 meters of bushland at the southern end to pick up the Princess Hwy at Blakehurst. Tom Uglies and Sylvania pass from view as I circumnavigate through and around the back of Sylvania Waters. Hard to recognize the western end shabbiness of ‘The Waters’ as a landmark development. Taren Point rolls into view, as does ’that’ bridge to Sans Souci, Sandringham and Ramsgate. Here I witness an afternoon onsite auction of an apartment in the back streets as I propel myself by. With the hordes of attendees, it’s difficult to image that we don’t live in a city gone real estate mad. Any proximity to the water fuels desire.
Brighton Le Sands, Kyeemagh then back up to Arncliffe and eastward to Tempe. Around the airport again, Mascot, Rosebery, Kensington. It is when I turn onto Doncaster Ave at Kensington that my bum starts to register a complaint. Shifting around in the saddle helps. Into the back of and around Centennial Park where I feel the swoosh over my shoulder of those ‘lycra loonies’ as they race past. Go Cadel. Up the steady climb which is Dennison Street brings saddle relief as load is again transferred to the top of my legs. Busy BJ brings with it a need for extra vigilance as I then power down Bondi Road and crank a hard left turn into Ocean Street and home.
What a rewarding day in the saddle. Moral of the story is: better to have loved and lost than never to have………loved the bicycle