On the flight to Melbourne, I woke from a short nap because of a sharp stabbing pain in my right ear. The two seats next to mine were empty and I had laid down for a quick snooze. I was flying alone today as I had several meetings to attend in Melbourne. My husband Justin and the kids would join me tomorrow late afternoon at our Airbnb house in Fitzroy North. The flight attendant had kindly brought me a pillow and a blanket. My daughter had been sick earlier in the week and missed two days of school because of this cold. Because of her love for me, she passed it along. Unfortunately, the congestion had affected my ears. As we descended, I felt fluid moving in my right ear and a sharp stab every few minutes as they equalised.
On the ground, I felt foggy and my ear hurt but I knew that I would feel better on a bicycle. The taxi took me quickly to the Lyall Hotel in South Yarra. I could have stayed in the bicycle heaven that is Fitzroy North again
but I was in the mood to explore another area of Melbourne. I think the conversation about Vélo-à-Porter impressed the taxi driver so much that he forgot to turn the metre on. He quoted me a price of $70, which he said was a bargain from the airport to South Yarra.
I had planned to drop my bag and laptop at the hotel and to take another taxi to Spokes Bicycles in Abbotsford to meet Gary for lunch. He was loaning me his wife’s Gazelle Geneve for the weekend. He was also loaning us two Urban Arrow cargo bicycles to take our kids and bicycles to Justin’s cyclocross race at Fields of Joy in Strathmore. But first I had to wait a few minutes for my room to be ready. I sat in front of the fire at the hotel. A man brought me tea during my wait. With the super fast wifi, I was now in heaven.
During the week, Gary and I had discussed a few configurations for the Urban Arrow, especially as the forecast was for rain on the weekend. In the end we came to the consensus of one Urban Arrow for Kids,
and the other for Bicycles.
Justin and I were amazed at the set up. However, I was a little apprehensive. I had fallen once with both kids on the Yuba Mundo a few years ago because I had forgotten to use the throttle to “set off” and was in too high of a gear. How would the “set-off” compare? I had test ridden it in June on my last trip but my memory was fuzzy.
Justin and I had packed all the rain gear we owned including kids gumboots, waterproof pants and rain jackets. We would be cycling over thirty kilometres to the race and back to the Airbnb house in Fitzroy North. Justin and the kids would be racing but not me. After my “over the handlebars” last November, I’ve been a little hesitant to ride the mountain bike. I was happy to be the support person for this weekend to avoid “post-race drained,” then to cycle back to feed and put kids to bed.
I had been upgraded to the top floor. I unpacked and admired the room. I would be quite comfortable there as I would soon be quite unwell and would spend most of the next day in bed.
The taxi cab driver who picked me up from the hotel was listening to acid jazz. When I told him my destination and that I would be cycling back to the hotel, he suggested that I ride back via Church Street. I appreciated his concern and awareness. I like to think he was a good example of the Melbourne cab driver. A quick look at Google Maps via bicycle confirmed his suggestion. We chatted about cycling in Melbourne. He was a big supporter of it and of course, the footie.
I met Gary outside the shop. We had a long lunch together around the corner at a beautiful furniture shop with fantastic food. We talked about my work, bicycles, the shop, health, his cycling trip to the Netherlands. We had so much to discuss. It was a great lunch. He apologised hat he wasn’t going to be around very much this weekend as his son was getting married the following weekend. I reassured him that we would be fine without him. His colleague Sean would look after us.
It’s a heady time to see your child marry. He told me a story about how his son and his soon-to-be-daughter-in-law had met and the common intergenerational friends between them. His son had asked him to speak at their wedding. Gary had been thinking about having raised his son to the man that he had become, on the eve of his wedding. It was such a touching story which included taking his son out, when he was three, to teach him about the bush. I became quite emotional listening to this story. It was so beautiful and with my own children, I could only hope for the same.
We walked back to the shop and I picked up the Gazelle Geneva. I would be meeting Melbourne Crank for a photoshoot as a continuation of my men’s series on style on the bicycle. He was around the corner. It was great to meet him in person but I was starting to fade. I took a few photos and then headed back to the hotel. It was an easy ride back to South Yarra via Church Street where I collapsed into bed and slept for the next twelve hours.
Today’s ensemble: Tahari dress, J.Crew coat, infinity scarf, earrings, Cartier Santos, Aerosole boots, Linus Eleanor bag, Roeckl gloves, Yakkay helmet, Witchery sunglasses, Gazelle Geneve c/o Spokes Bicycles, Abbotsford, VIC.