Sunday, August 28, 2016

vintage tweed ride #4

You know a good time was had when there are few pics to tell the tale!

Today's Vintage Tweed Bike Ride was, as always, utterly magnificent. This year Vicki handed over the reins (or handlebars) to her daughter Jess - and what an organiser Jess is. The ride was brimming with people all decked out in their Sunday best tweed (except me, who, as always rebelled - blue floral frock and red cape in case you're wondering).

The array of bikes was breathtaking, so many original vintage lovelies in glorious colours. Check out this one above which is like a clotted cream with a little lemon curd swirled through.


Excuse me, would you have a look at that sky! And the peeps on parade. Seriously, everyone just looked so darned spiffing. Can we make it a law for people to dress up more often? I will put up my hand to police it! In the nicest possible way of course!

We rode the usual route, through Islington, along the creek, then the harbour until we reached Nobbys. Delightfully, the sweet peeps from The Commons had a wee coffee wagon set up with delightful cakes such as rhubarb and nutmeg (that had my name on it) lemon myrtle and yoghurt and authentic-looking shortbread.

And all funds raised from coffee and cake went to a fabulous thing called Bike Pirates a community bike shed and hangout space. Sweet huh!

Now, I felt VERY IMPORTANT as Jess asked if I'd help her judge the prizes. What an honour! Now, I am a bit of a crap judge as I am VERY Hot Chocolate (as in, Everyone's A Winner Baby That's The Truth) and it was very, very, very hard to choose. But choose we did: best dressed woman, best dressed man, best picnic, best kid, rarest beast (this went to a woman in a fur, with a cigarette in a long holder, riding a unicyle with a wheel the size of a penny farthing!) ...

And best restoration was totally in the bag until I walked past this guy.

Now, I'd seen his bike at the start of the ride and it was so shiny and new I just assumed it was shiny and new. So as Jess and I wandered to confirm out Best Dressed Man award (penny farthing socks and leather pant protectors sealed that deal) I said to this guy "Love the colour of your bike!" and he said "Thanks, it's a match to the original,"

Well, that stopped me in my tracks. So I had to learn more.

Then I heard the tale.

This 1967 Malvern Star was found on the tip, and he's spent the past two years painstakingly restoring it. Right down to re-chroming nuts and original handlebars. Hunting down original stickers. Seriously, it's breathtaking.


Today was its first-ever ride.

And we had our winner.

What a day. Jess, thank you. Vicki, thank you. And every single person who participated, or who smiled at us along the way, thank you!

I love this city.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

newy night ride

So, last night I had the best night in, like, ever.

It was the very-first Newy Night Ride - where people gathered in Wheeler Place, decked out their bikes (and their helmets - and for some, their bodies!) in solar or battery-powered fairy lights and rode around Newcastle.

77 people came along. The bikes were all in varying shades of fabulous (from fabulous to FABULOUS) and everyone wore a gigantic smile.

My bike was on the understated side.

But my lights were pale blue loveheart lanterns.

And yes, in case you were worried I was too understated that IS a disco ball in my basket.

We started off a little after 6 as we were waiting for Bernie. I wasn't sure who this was at first (until I found out he was the owner of my fave bike shop - Metro Cycles) and then when I saw him, I knew why we'd waited.

Not only did that disco ball top my disco ball, Bernie had a full-on sound-system in this cargo carrier bike. And he blasted 70s disco for the full ride.

Was I in heaven? Oh yes I was.

We rode around Honeysuckle and over and around Carrington, bringing smiles to people's faces as they glanced up from their dinners. Mobile phones were raised and I'll be there are plenty of videos on Instagram and Facebook saying "I have no idea what this is, but it's fabulous!"

The ride was so well-organised. We had marshals throughout who guided us across roads and waved and smiled at happy cars who would let us through. A highlight was when we filled a sidestreet, and a police car came down the other side of the road, and lit up his car and whooped the sirens in solidarity with us.

The night ended at The Edwards in the new beer garden. I love how these guys embrace fun Newcastle things. It can't have been easy finding parking for 50-odd bikes in the new space!

So many people say to me "I don't know how you do it" when I say what I've done on the weekend - but I feel it's so important to make an effort to support new and fabulous things. I was so tired yesterday that I just wanted to flop on the couch, and then, when my solar lanterns didn't charge, it could've been easy to give up. But no, I nicked my daughter's loveheart lights from her bedroom wall (with her permission!) and went along on a night that will bring me joy whenever I recall it.

Thanks Tom and Gus and all the team for organising this. And thanks to the Sydney Night Ride peeps who came up to share in this event. Legends all.