The other day, I joined a Facebook group called “Straya – Look at my Bike Leaning on Stuff.” For you non-Aussies out there, ‘Straya’ means Australia. I joined the group for a bit of a laugh because I wanted to see how cheeky the photographers could be because having people in the shots aren’t allowed and yet people try – a lot… plus, I like to see where people are travelling to. The rules to this online group is simple: No People – just bikes leaning on stuff.
As the moderator says in the description this group is a homage to the humble bicycle looking good leaning against other stuff.
That got me thinking. When I was bicycling around Ireland, I was one of those people who took a proud photo of my bike. And well, every picture has some sort of story behind it. So, here’s my take on Bikes leaning on stuff! Enjoy.
After I bought the bike, I reluctantly began bicycling around Sydney to gain confidence. I made sure to bicycle all types of weather including the rain. I also bicycled to work which happened to be very far and was located on a hill with a pretty steep incline. Cycling around Sydney isn’t the best as drivers are pretty aggressive on the roads, so this was a steep learning curve for a newbie like me. I’d also arrive to work completely spent because of low blood sugar, the amount of k’s I was peddling and they were also all up hill.
I decided to take the bike down to Canberra for a spin. Canberra is very bike friendly as there’s lots of trails. The drivers are a lot less aggressive as well… What’s funny is, when I was in Canberra, I got a flat tyre. This was a first for me. I also didn’t have anyway to change my tyre because no kit and pretty much no idea how to do it. Luckily, I met an American diplomat from the US Embassy who was able to save me from being stranded and dropped me off at my hostel! I considered this my very first diplomatic rescue.
When I was in Ireland, my first big trek on the bike was bicycling from Dublin to Wexford. This scared the bejesus out of me. When I hit the Wicklow Mountains, I tried to drop down a gear just to make it up the hill only to realise that I was already in the lowest gear. That made my cycling up to Glendalough horrific. I also discovered that wind sucks because it’s always blowing against you. When I arrived in Wexford, I nearly got blown off the bridge. I was an extremely exhausted and ready to pass out.
After the Dublin to Wexford leg, the media took a pretty big interest in my adventure. The producers from TV3 wanted me on the Seven O’Clock Show for an interview. Their studios were in Dublin. I just came from Dublin, and they wanted me on TV tomorrow. There was no way I could make it because it just took me four days to get to Wexford. So, I took the train and headed north.
I left the train station in Dublin and bicycled to the TV3 studios. What’s funny is, I walked in wearing the coolest rainbow yoga pants and cleanest black top and then.. to my horror, three people asked me if I wanted to change my clothes. Guess I wasn’t that clean after all as I did bicycle from Dublin. I swapped out my rainbow pants for black ones. The rest is history!
What’s cool is, the bike got to lean in the TV3 hallway, back stage on the set of the Seven O’Clock Show! And, not to break the rules, I cant show you the picture of the bike on set, because I’m in it.
Cork, Cobh and Kinsale:
After the TV3 appearance, I ended up exploring Cork. A ‘not so funny’ but more cringe-worthy story is when I left Rising Sons Brewery for Cobh and kinda face planted into a parked car. It wasn’t my best moment, but it was certainly a first. I couldn’t walk nor bicycle for a few days and my knee swelled up like a grapefruit. The ferry captain felt bad for me and allowed me to travel to Cobh free of charge.
Getting to Kinsale was a lot of fun. I walked up a lot of hills and whilst doing so, some guy named Kev pulled up beside me and offered me some tea and to meet the Aussie staying at his hostel. When I arrived, I was a little bit horrified as I felt like I was going to be murdered. Kev’s place was a little.. um… messy… but as I bicycled in, all eyes were on me. There was no way I could turn back and I knew that his truck could go faster than I could pedal. I hung out for about 45 minutes and got the heck out of there. I arrived to Kinsale before sunset and made sure I had a massive feed. The next day, I was looked after by a tasty local shop, the Lemon Leaf Cafe. They took pity on me and offered me a lemon meringue and cup of coffee on the house!
I somehow got the dreaded Irish flu before I arrived in Belfast. I thought I was gonna die. I was told by a doctor not to bicycle and to just rest. I spent two days hacking up a lung at the Newgrange Hostel. Personally, I just wanted to keep moving because there’s nothing worse than feeling like crap when you’re a travelling minimalist. I had to pump up my flat tyres and find food as I didn’t eat anything for two days straight thanks to this deadly flu.
I bicycled to Drogheda to take the train to Belfast. I never felt so terrible before in my life, but the cool part was, on my way to Drogheda, there was myst everywhere! When I finally arrived and made it to the train station (side note: who puts a train station on a frickin hill?) I had to wait three hours until the next train arrived. Drogheda’s radio station, LMFM, asked I’d like to come to the studio for an interview, but I felt so terribly sick I declined the nice offer and decided it would be better to sit on the uncomfortable wooden bench at the train station and simply feel sorry for myself.
I loved Galway and so did the bike! There were so many cool things to do! I especially loved fighting as a medieval knight! I also went for coffee at one of the highly recommended cafe’s Whilst trying to manoeuvre around another bike parked out front, I knocked theirs over. Oops.
I also tried to take my bicycle into Boots. Boots is where you go for anything bathroom or illness related. I just needed a bottle of shampoo so when I tried to take my bicycle into Boots, that didn’t go down well. The lady working the store marched me out and onto the street bicycle and all. I didn’t want to have to lock up my bike, take off the panniers just to walk into the store and buy shampoo. Firstly, everything I owned was on that bike, it was heavy and I would only be in the shop for 30 seconds! So even after quivering my bottom lip, I locked the bike up… walked in to the store, grabbed a bottle, paid the lady and within 30 seconds, marched out.. WITH ALL MY STUFF.
Rising Sons Brewery, Cork
The bike was also a Guinness bike until…the pushie became a craft beer bike! The lovely team of Rising Sons donned their rafters with the little bike that could! We named her Grainú after the famous Celtic warrior (Grainú is also one of their beers too!)
The last image is more hanging than leaning, but it’s a technicality. What’s great is, you can stop in to Rising Sons, raise a pint and say G’day to the pushie!
An Aussie girl gone walkabout in the great big world!