Here comes the sun

Beach Sunset 016

Photo by Ryan James Bentley 2009

Sunday with no plans so I went for a walk. I knew there would be cyclists on the main road taking part in the annual Around The Bay In A Day event. I had gone for my ride yesterday avoiding the crowds.  15,500 cyclists wearing colourful lycra pedalled their bikes in both directions looping 250 kilometres around Port Phillip Bay.

At Anthony’s Nose three large men in bulging lycra asked in their English accents if I would take their photo. With the silvery bay clad in morning light as a backdrop and the tall buildings of Melbourne peeking above the horizon as small black pegs (their destination) I took the picture of these jovial men. They told me they were from Sydney and came down each year especially for this event. Finding time to stop at a cafe for breakfast was a priority they said. I wish I had my phone with me so I could have taken a photo of them for myself.

Later in the day I drove to Mornington to see and hear a friend sing as part of the Two Bays Choir. The Annual Mornington Food and Wine Expo was in full swing when I arrived. The main street was closed to vehicles and instead filled with tent stalls where local wineries offered samples of their wine, and all sorts of food was being made and sold. A rock band played loudly at one end of the street and another at the other end. It was difficult to find my way through the crowds of people, children, dogs, and stalls. The cafes, restaurants and hotels were open for business and diners were eating and drinking, spilling out onto the footpaths.

Eventually finding the stage where the choir performed I sat and enjoyed their efforts despite the competing sounds from the rock bands and crowds of exuberant people. As I was about to leave a group of 14 people gathered and sat in a circle with bongo drums. A joyous rhythm of drumming began and a crowd gathered to lap up their sound and spirit.

I drove home along the beach road as the sun made its way to the western horizon. Boats were still out on the golden bay and people were fishing, skiing, or just motoring around. A barbeque dinner at home with family finished off a great day. Springtime in Melbourne heralds the arrival of longer days of sunshine and everyone gets out enjoying themselves in this glorious weather.

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Eastlink Cycle

Picture by Jon Hargest for heraldsun.com.auIt was still dark as we donned our cycling gear at the shopping centre car park early on Sunday morning. The chill morning air froze our faces as we cycled along the new blemish-free tollway surface to the event start point.

A crowd of keen cyclists grew rapidly and soon a tangle of bright coloured Lycra and aluminium frames surrounded us and stretched as far as we could see. We stood shivering under an overpass waiting for the starters signal. I was anxious amongst the group worried I’d struggle to hold my space amongst the forward jostling.

The signal sounded and it began, slow at first as the crowds shuffled forward, then the cleats clicked into place and we were off. The downward run towards Frankston was unexpectedly well-spaced and smooth allowing me to enjoy the building momentum as we all gathered speed and settled into our varying comfort zones. Groups formed and reformed. A spill of bikes and riders caused us all to slow as the cry of “stopping” rippled back through the palaton.

This event promoted the completion of the Eastlink Tollway. Reports varied from 40,000 to 100,000 people who turned up to either cycle, walk, run or roller-skate this new expanse of bitumen. Six friends from our regular Saturday morning cycle group enjoyed the challenge of the 65 kilometre looped course. My time was 2 hours and 11 minutes averaging about 30km/hr, which is pretty good for me. It was a rare chance for cyclists to ride on good roads with plenty of space and no cars to be concerned about.