There are very few advantages for a summer-phobe such as myself to living in a perpetual oven like Perth. If the definition of 'advantage' was sufficiently loose then I might be able to point to the frequent opportunity for dusk and night time leisure rides. During our especially foolish experiments with daylight savings, Perth was also in the grips of an unbearable summer. Even after the sun set, the heat of the day would linger. And linger. Though dark, the air was still hot and any movement produced rivers of sweat; but being outside and on a bicycle meant creating your own breeze so we soon took to riding the East Perth path in the evenings. It was a cooler way to exercise without having to pay for the pool seven nights a week.
|Fraser's Point cycleway just past East Perth includes some boardwalks.|
Living right next to the start of the East Perth bicycle path made these night time jaunts close to ideal in terms of getting some summer recreation. The protection from cars and the well lit, smooth surfaces allowed us to go as fast or slow as we wished according to the temperature. Best of all, at the East Perth end was a pretty view of the city and river, twinkling lights and bars or cafés to enjoy refreshment. I was able to do many solo rides along the path when Ginger was working late as it's a safe and predictable environment, though I did avoid doing anything other than cycling on the bike - on such a sheltered path, listening to music is tempting but I prefer to hear potential hazards as well as see them. I did take an iPod shuffle with me once but only because Ginger was riding behind me. He tried music once when I was behind him but we both concluded that we didn't feel comfortable bicycling in a cocoon of sound. Jogging or walking is slow enough that potential hazards see you even if you don't see them. The bike at full speed can still suffer from an element of surprise.
|View from the East Perth bridge.|
Through the summer, as our bicycle enthusiasm spread to our circle of friends, we even did some social night time rides. On my very first ride with a friend, the chain on the Schwinn Jenny popped off shifting out of 4th gear (it was my fault, I accidentally flicked multiple gears and simultaneously put power through the crank and it hadn't had its complimentary service where everything gets 'tightened up'. Never had a problem since.). We weren't very far into our ride and I was at that time ignorant of the ease with which a chain on a derailleur is wrestled back into position. Being the tail end of Roadie Rush Hour, a be-lycraed, pleasant stranger responded to my flagging him down and proceeded to make me feel very foolish by fixing my chain in about one and a half seconds. For the record: Push derailleur forward with one hand, rehook chain with other (this will be a bit greasy with a chain guard to get around), turn cranks by hand until it clicks into place. Mind numbingly, embarrassingly simple once you see somebody else do it. Which is why I am still looking for a simple bicycle maintenance course.
|East Perth at night.|
|Sweaty bike friends stop at the jetty.|