Tillie & Coco

two ladies, two bicycles, two hemispheres

Category: Bicycle parking

Friday fish

by Alacoque

Dear Tillie and friends,

Friday turned on the most beautiful weather. By 9am I had a couple of loads of washing already on the line and feeling as though I’d taken advantage domestically I simply had to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Willa and I took a leisurely ride to the fish markets to get something for dinner. We took the long route there, avoiding the roads and taking in the foreshore along Darling Harbour and Pyrmont Point.

 

 

The fish markets has the  most ill-conceived bike racks outside the car park entrance, miles from the actual markets and away from watchful eyes, so no one uses them. Most riders simply lock their bikes to the fence near the water’s edge. With the addition of Willa’s baby seat it was rather more difficult to secure my bike and I provided quite the entertainment juggling a bike, baby, two helmets and a lock.

 

On the ride home I stopped in at the community garden and picked some salad greens to go with the fish for dinner. Delicious!

Love Co xx

Just another Tuesday

by Alacoque

Hey Tillie (and “hello” everyone else!),

this morning I headed into Newtown to attend a Seed Saving workshop at the Green Living Centre. The workshop was great! Jane demonstrated collecting and saving seed from carrots and tomatoes (two different techniques), then we planted broad beans in toilet paper rolls for The Great Crate– an installation that will be part of Art & About Sydney from 21st September to 21st October. For more workshops offered by the Green Living Centre have a look here (don’t worry I’ve already registered for the DIY Bicycle Panniers workshop!). I was too busy getting my hands dirty to take any photos but by coincidence the rocket in our community garden is going to seed so here’s a surrogate photo instead!

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Rocket going to seed
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Self-sown lettuce and a cheeky little tomato

As I had Willa with me I took the pram and walked to Newtown. It should have taken me 36 minutes to walk, according to google maps, but with three different stops in Victoria Park (1. ducks, 2. feed, 3. nappy change) it ended up taking  an hour and a half! This is why I need to get back on the bike. If I’d ridden it would have taken about 15 minutes and I would have arrived before those needs arose (well excluding the ducks but there’s always time to stop for ducks).

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Victoria Park
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Ducks!
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Bike locked up on King Street
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Pentimento window display

On the walk back through Newtown I stopped in at Cheeky Transport, my favourite bike shop, to check out their baby bike seats and helmets. Their recommendation? The Yepp Mini, a front mounted child seat. There were none in stock so I put my name down and will get a call when they come in. I said I’d be happy with either the lime or orange, which do you prefer?

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Willa also tried on a couple of helmets for size. This exercise reminded me of an eighties movie montage where teenage girls try on various hats but instead of over-actors in fluro clothes and spiral perms we had a rather mellow baby covered in banana and leftover rusk. We decided on the smallest one (I can’t remember the brand) and at half the price of the next model up I can totally cope with the cat and dog pattern.

Walking back through Victoria Park I spied these folks smoking lazily on the lawn in the dappled sunlight. Bike dropped casually beside them.

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When I was waiting at the lights on the other side of the park this bike ninja pulled up. BIKE NINJA!

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All in all a pretty awesome day!

Love Coco xx

Library II

by Alacoque

Hi Tillie,

Willa and I went to the library this morning so I took the chance to snap a photo of our newspaper stand. It’s not as fancy as yours, but I think the books in our romance section make up for it!

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It has turned out to be a beautiful day here, Spring has sprung early. I just hope it stays this way. Tea in the backyard is delightful with Willa rolling around my feet. Even my bike Camilla is poking her head out from under her tarp, keen to get out into the sunshine!

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Coco xx

Transport Option

by Alacoque

Hey Tillie,

two forms of transport were parked outside the Powerhouse Museum this afternoon. No need to tell you which was my favourite.

 

 

More on what was inside the Museum tomorrow.

Coco xx

A Midsummer Cycle

by Tillie

Dear Coco,

It’s been a while since we posted about a cycling journey. I had a number of errands to do today (not very important ones) which were best done by bike, so thought I’d do you a bit of a photo essay. It is a billion degrees today, so definitely not helmet weather, but I have no qualms about cycling on the pavement considering there are so few pedestrians to contend with, and the roads are so pot-holed they aren’t always the better option anyway! As you see, I’ve finally discovered Instagram. I am totally “gramming” as the cool kids say.

First, I went to the post office, and enjoyed using the drive-thru postboxes. This is the main post office, which is the best one to use because they clear the postboxes at 5.30pm. To catch the postman at the other boxes around town you have to be organised enough to post everything by 9.30, which never happens unless I have the extra incentive of posting a Netflix envelope. I’m pretty sure I am singlehandedly propping up the United States Postal Service.

From the Post Office, I headed back towards the centre of town. I meant to take a photo of this magnolia tree for you back when it was flowering. It was really pretty, but didn’t last long because there was a surprise snowfall that ruined everything, like a cold white unseasonal scrooge. Anyhoo, here it is for you in its leafy summer cloak instead. Soz.

You can see why the pavement is far more appealing than the road! I’m a bit confused by the apparent cycle route on this sign, though. Just around the corner from here is a really nice, wide pavement out the front of the Corning Museum of Glass, which leads straight to the pedestrian bridge and then Market Street. I tell myself that the pavement is deliberately wide to accommodate cyclists, even though it’s possibly illegal (maybe I should find out).

My next errand was to Market Street Coffee & Tea to get some coffee ground. We bought a packet of coffee beans from Four Barrels Coffee in San Francisco thinking that we’d buy a grinder, which of course we didn’t. The good folks at the coffee shop amazingly offer a grinding service for free, but I bought a bag anyway because once I needed to get about 20 quarters in change (Ithaca parking metres) and they were kind enough to do that for me without asking me to buy anything, so I had some karma debt to repay.

As usual I had to improvise a bicycle park, but this bench proved a lot easier than my slightly awkward bin technique.

My next stop was Walgreen’s, to see if they had anything in Sali Hughes’ recent Hero Products under £10 column (one thing). It’s always fun to gawp at all the STUFF in there.

Interesting Factoid: the pointy roof (er, architectural term?) was a sort of compromise to make the building fit in with the surroundings more easily – it takes cues from a nearby church and possibly the Rockwell Museum as well. The obligatory car park is set off slightly by some garden (not pictured), but it’s still ugly. And a heat trap on a day like this.

They do have a bicycle park though, so points for that!

I have omitted a rather painful few minutes in glaring sunlight waiting to cross Denison Parkway on the way to my next errand (groceries). Just imagine a hot concrete desert and lots of cars roaring past. When I finally got back to the quieter part of town I cycled down Market Street (on the shadeless side of the road, aargh!) and snapped (I mean “grammed”) this summery pot of petunias on the way:

Planning Moan: I don’t get this sign. I assume it’s there to warn drivers that pedestrians can cross here, but it’s very confusing. Cars may or may not stop for you (mostly not). Why not just have a real pedestrian crossing? Duh. I don’t understand why you need a PhD to know how to cross the road.

Next stop: Wegmans. Another heat trap car park! I do like cycling through it though. It’s so much easier than the bother of parking a car, and it’s much easier to see where the pedestrians are from a bike. One of my greatest driving fears is backing into someone (or running into a deer, not that I’m likely to do that at Wegmans).

Check it out. “Cilantro”. Haha. (Other words I’ve learned since moving here: garbazno beans (chickpeas), arugula (rocket), pignolia nuts (pine nuts). I still don’t know how much a pound is. America, please get the metric system!)

I get an eye twitch every time I pass this sign. I assume the point is that the pavement is very narrow and runs past a Seniors Centre, but it seems a bit harsh. You’d have to be cycling very fast for it to be remotely hazardous. Maybe it’s there because someone had an accident at some point. That’s the only excuse I’ll accept.

After the mean no cycling signs, there’s a rather nice stretch of path through a shady park. I happened upon two workmen doing something to the road, and one of them said to me “nice day for a cycle!” A tad too nice, perhaps, but not complaining.

(PS. I changed our theme… hope OK! Feel free to change it back if you prefer.)

The Pedestrian Bridge

by Tillie

Hi Coco,

After a number of arduous rides, today I remembered to pump up my tyres before going cycling, and what a difference it made! I planned to just go to Wegman’s to pick up an eggplant, but once there I didn’t feel like going straight home, so I went on a detour via Corning’s lovely pedestrian bridge, where I was delighted to discover some more bicycle parking – complete with parked bikes! (I also met a fellow cyclist as I was leaving the supermarket, who had a rather nice fixie. He said “nice day for a ride!” and we had a chat about the fantastic lack of winter.)

The bridge is crumbling a tad, but I like that it’s still available to pedestrians and cyclists.

It also affords nice views across to the other bridge, which I call “The Green Bridge”, which unfortunately doesn’t look very green in this photo:

I also took advantage of this capacious footpath outside the Corning Museum of Glass, which I guess I’m allowed to cycle on? I haven’t figured out the rules with cycling on the pavement yet, but it appears to be acceptable – as it should be! I’ve only found one sign restricting it, which is on a very thin pavement near a retirement home, which seems reasonable.

As much as I enjoy the quiet streets, I also like to cycle on the main road because I like to give cycling some visibility. I’m yet to experience any sort of road rage – cars merely slow down and give me space. It’s lovely! And when I was stopped at an intersection today, a man with a long triangular beard smiled at me.

Another Errand

by Tillie

Hi Coco,

Corning has a second Post Office. It’s not pretty like the main one, but it has BICYCLE PARKING. And not just any bicycle parking:

HARDCORE bicycle parking! Look, it’s bolted into the ground and everything. On the way home from posting a parcel to my sister, a nice old man said hello to me. That never happens if you’re in a car, unless someone wants to road rage at you.

I didn’t take a photo of my outfit today because I’ve been wearing pretty much the same thing every time I cycle. This coat is brilliant! I bought in in Chester just before we left the UK, which I thought was appropriate as Chester is famous for it’s ‘black and white’ architecture. And my Topshop gloves from the Tweed Run are still going strong. When will they bring out a range of bicycle gloves? I wish someone would!

When I got home I realised I’d forgotten to bring the other half of my postal errand: the Netflix envelope. I was obviously more excited about the journey than the destination.