Tillie & Coco

two ladies, two bicycles, two hemispheres

Category: Rain

Kate & Nic Part Two: Day Out in Auckland

by Tillie

Tillie & Coco are very pleased to present the second part of our guest post from Kate & Nic. (You can read Part One here.) 

Nic rides a Raleigh British Small Arms [BSA] bike from the 50’s called Nellie. She says, “I bought her off a Dutch guy here whose mum used to ride it. The rain jacket on the back denotes the constant showers in Auckland at this time of the year.  The pannier is from my previous old bike that I thought I would re-build but then discovered that patience is not my virtue, so gave the frame etc to Tim White [swoon] at TWhite’s bikes. So the pannier is foreign of sorts but so, so handy for carrying produce and all those essential necessities in lieu of a  back-pack (which unless worn as a feature is not very Frocks on Bikes culturesque).” 

A weekend in September 2011

 Nellie and I cruise down the hill to the Devonport wharf to catch the ferry into town. The knitted street art along the Devonport wharf handrail has grown in length thanks to all the overseas knitters who have sent the Knitty Graffity organiser some woollen inspiration for the Rugby World Cup. My favourite pieces are here.

 Elmo! Girly squeal. Picture taken here with one arm only. That is street art, one day it is there, the other it is not. Note for those concerned viewers, Elmo’s other arm has since been replaced.

 Dan Carter [the All Black’s legendary goal kicker and all-round clean-cut hottie pic for most chicks] or Dan the Man. Dan was also liberated for a while so now he has a little padlock to keep him around a bit longer. He was returned just in time for a good omen against the France game. French toast!

 View from the front of the 10 minute ferry ride over to Auckland’s city centre where my urban foraging began.

 Heading west out of the downtown ferry terminal and through the Viaduct [an entertainment area developed in 1999 – 2000 when Auckland held the Americas Cup Challenge and Team NZ defeated Italy’s Prada Challenger], the new Te Wero bridge which opens and closes to let large boats into the marina now provides a direct east-west connection to the newly regenerated Wynyard Quarter precinct, previously known as the Tank Farm from all the Golden Bay cement and gas silos in occupation.

 Jellicoe Street, Wynyard Quarter – an authentic working harbour that now boasts as a new destination for Aucklanders and visitors.

Trams are also back in Auckland after a 60-odd year hiatus. Must remember to ride perpendicular over the tracks Nic, just like in Melbourne. Doh, raining again. As Jan Gehl, legendary Danish architect and urbanist says, “there is no such thing as bad whether, just bad clothing” so suck it up.

After this relatively flat cruise, some strong thigh-work is in order to hike up Franklin Road to reach the Ponsonby/Richmond Road ridgeline. Here the sun is now out again and with a 40-minute window until Velociteers practice, my blood cells are telling me that some well-crafted caffeine from my favourite deli in West Lynn would make them really happy. Irrésistible!

Now peckish, I head down to the Grey Lynn Farmers Market for some fresh fare to keep me going. A quick hi to Pippa who has her cycle box full of organic goodies and it is time to head back to Richmond Road Primary school for..

Velociteers’ practice. We formed last year for the Art in the Dark festival and are now back for our second year with new moves, some new members and most excitingly – new costumes. Three practices this week to perfect our synchronicity in the lead up to our performance for Moving Earth day next weekend. http://www.facebook.com/#!/velociteers, then the week after at http://greylynncreates.co.nz/

Flying back town the hill I just make the ferry back to Devonport and am met with some more inspiration on the now tactile handrail. Dream Big. That is for sure.

Thanks for sharing my day in Auckland. Love from Nic & Nellie



by Tillie

Hi Coco,

As you know, I have family in town for three generous weeks. Mum and I decided to go cycling today in Battersea Park – the best halfway point as it was easy for her to get to on the Tube, and easy for me to take my bike on the train two stops to Clapham Junction. I used to cycle around Battersea Park on my way to work before we moved, so I know the area well – and was delighted to find that Cycle Superhighway 8 has been installed along Battersea Park Road. The familiar path led me to Sloane Square station via my old route to work (now all dressed up in Cycle Superhighway blue) where we had hoped to collect a Boris Bike and then take a turn around the park.

Sadly, it was not to be. Just as I turned off the Superhighway I was suddenly caught in a tropical downpour, with no awnings or dense trees to shelter under anywhere in sight! I was soaked through in less than a minute, with rain dripping off the brim of my winter helmet (the only sensible part of my ensemble) and straight through my shoes. By the time I found Mum I was very much resembling a drowned rat. She bought me a nice hot cup of tea and a muffin and then we dodged further downpours on the Kings Road until I had to take a window of opportunity to dash back to Clapham Junction and back onto the train. It did start raining again but by that point I was too drenched to care. Now I’m at home wearing my biggest jumper, googling ponchos and waterproof seat covers.

Completely inappropriate shoes

Bell and rain

Albert Bridge and clouds

Murphy’s Law

by tillieandcoco

Dear Tillie,

all week (all month even) I have been looking forward to today’s ARTcycle as part of Art Month in Sydney. Art Month is “… a month-long festival that celebrates the vibrancy and diversity of Sydney’s thriving visual arts scene…” and ARTcycle is “… a free guided bicycle tour of art galleries, artist studios, public art and street art”. Considering art and cycling are two of my most favourite things this was my kind of event. Add in Surry Hills as location and Saskia from Sydney Cycle Chic as tour guide and I was chomping at the bit.

Unfortunately we awoke this morning to gloomy grey skies.
“It’ll clear up!” we thought as we tucked into a healthy and hearty breakfast designed to fuel our day of cycling. Of course it did no such thing and just as we stepped out the front door it started bucketing down. We scrambled back inside and pondered what to do. The weather report was no help- a few showers it said. So how were we to know if this was the last of it or not? Eventually we spent so long deciding what to do we were too late to meet the group at the starting place so we conceded to plant our butts on the lounge for the day.

Of course once we made this decision the rain stopped, the clouds parted, blue sky and sunshine bore down on our little house and taunted us. We looked at each other and grabbed our bikes. We had just enough time to ride to the first gallery and meet up with the tour there. It was a good thing really, the gallery was closer than the meeting place anyway. It was meant to be!

We headed out and had not even made it a block from home before the sun disappeared and ominous clouds took its place. We glanced at each other. The decision had been made- onward and artward!

We met with a few sprinkles as we rode over to Darlinghurst’s Liverpool Street Gallery but nothing too bad. We knew we were in the right place when we saw the bikes. Lots and lots of bikes.

We locked up and headed inside. The artist talk was great but over very quickly. While we were inside it started raining again. Hard. We decided we weren’t up for a day of riding around in the rain, so we waited for it to ease up a bit and then headed for our bikes. As soon as we reached them we realised Waz had a flat. Excellent.

We eventually made it home, wet and artless.

Bloody Murphy’s Law.

Love Coco xx