Springtime in Canberra

Four months ago I was preparing for HARDCOPY in Canberra which is a professional development program for emerging writers for which I was selected. Attending HARDCOPY for three days of workshops in late May meant I ended Autumn in Canberra with some interesting cycling experiences, learnt about Alida’s Adventure to cycle across Australia and joined a valuable network of emerging writers.

One of those writers, Serina Huang – an experienced blogger known as Ms. Frugal Ears – offered to lend me her bicycle for my next visit. And that visit was last weekend when our HARDCOPY group of 26 returned to Canberra for another three days of professional development. This time, the format was a mini-festival called Intro2Industry where we listened and learnt from experienced agents, publishers and authors, about publishing (print and digital), copyright, contracts, the agent’s role, book reviews and social media marketing. It was a wonderful stream of knowledge flowing freely and skilling us for the business side of our writing careers.

So with my sea of information swelling, being able to ride a bicycle was a wonderful way to let it coalesce.

But it wasn’t any ordinary bicycle. No, it wasn’t a beefy blue cruiser like my last visit. This was a cute little yellow foldaway electric bicycle!

Electric bicycles (e-bikes) use a battery that can be removed from the bike and plugged into a regular power supply for recharging. Due to the battery, electric bikes are typically heavier than non-electric bicycles. Serina’s e-bike weighs 35kg. The bike’s body is about 24kg and the battery weighs 11kg. As battery size and weight can vary according to its power, it is possible to have a lighter battery. Catalogues for e-bikes typically specify the body weight and, with advances in design over recent years, this ranges from 18kgs to 25kgs. If you’re considering an e-bike, Australian consumer advocate Choice published a review of e-bikes in April 2015 which you can read here.

For my purposes over the weekend, Serina’s cute little yellow e-bike was perfect!

The battery meant my ride was power-assisted as I pedalled any inclines. It also meant that occasionally I could stop pedalling and cruise a little, knowing the battery power will carry me for a short while. It was very enjoyable.

And so was Canberra in its sparkling Spring sunshine. When I visited in late May, the weather was cold and a little bleak for cycling. Not so now. Canberra is at its best with mild temperatures, warm sunshine, trees bursting to life and flowers blooming.

I enjoyed some lovely pedal time. Commonwealth Park (where I got lost during my last visit) has been transformed for Canberra’s famous Floriade festival for four weeks. This meant some of the pathways were closed to bicycles so I explored the other side of Lake Burley Griffin riding past the National Library and along to Bowen Place Crossing.

Bowen Place Crossing is a new underpass for walkers, joggers and cyclists. It was under construction when I visited in May. Now it’s complete! And represents an amazing addition to Canberra’s bicycle infrastructure. I’ve put together a 39 second slideshow of approaching the underpass from Kings Avenue Bridge (it follows with photos below).

So did I enjoy Springtime in Canberra? Absolutely!

Canberra is not only a lovely city to cycle. There is, thanks to the ACT Writers Centre and the Australia Council for the Arts, rich soil for emerging writers and there are wonderful seedlings starting to bloom!

The cute little yellow electric bike by Lake Burley Griffin with The National Library in the background.

The cute little yellow electric bike by Lake Burley Griffin with The National Library in the background.

The battery (grey in colour and brick like in shape) sits at the rear of the electric bike underneath a small seat suitable for doubling or 'dinking' :-)

The battery (grey in colour and brick like in shape) sits at the rear of the electric bike underneath a small seat suitable for doubling or ‘dinking’ someone.

Trees bursting with blooms.

Trees bursting with blooms by Lake Burley Griffin.

Floriade green.

Floriade greens.

17 Comments on “Springtime in Canberra

    • It was wonderful all round Serina. Thank you for your generosity in lending me the bike and bringing it to the Gorman Arts Centre in the boot of your car. It was really enjoyable to ride around in the fabulous spring weather and the little e-bike was a treat! 🙂

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  1. I love the pictures, especially the little yellow bike. The spring blossoms are magnificent and Floriade greens too. Writers beginning to bloom. A lovely thought! No doubt the Hard Copy experience proved great fertiliser for you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Unfurling! It was a cute little carriage to move around on. I can recommend trying one.

      Hardcopy has been an excellent program and everyone participating has benefited greatly. In our final wrap-up on Sunday, someone mentioned also that the benefit spreads beyond our group of 26 because we each belong to communities of writers that we share the content with. So the power of the Australia Council’s investment in emerging writers travels quite far.

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    • Thanks Michelle. Canberra really is quite beautiful in Spring and I think you’re right that many people don’t realise how pleasant a place it can be.

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  2. What a cute and functional little bike! I didn’t know you could get fold-up electric bikes. . How gorgeous those blooms look by the lake. I’m glad you had such a great experience of cycling and writing in Canberra. Thanks for sharing it with us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t seen fold-up electric bikes either Jane. Having said that, I haven’t researched the market so they may be around in Australia. This one was bought in 2012 in Taiwan so I’m not sure if that brand is available in Australia.

      It certainly was a great little bike to move around on 🙂

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    • The bicycle was a beauty – very easy to move around on.

      Some Floriade flowers were in bloom but most locals said the flowers would be in full display two weeks later.

      Despite that, the displays were still quite beautiful. I uploaded a photo in my Instagram feed which you can see in the blog site or at this url: https://instagram.com/abike4allseasons/

      It is a composite of three garden shots from Floriade. Quite colourful!

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  3. Hi Gail

    The bike does look like fun! The slide show is great and encouraged me to consider dropping in to Canberra on one of our future trips to try out the cycle ways. I notice you are becoming skilled in a variety of presentations on your blog – well done!

    Jen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jen! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the slideshow. That’s great to know.

      I think you’d really enjoy riding your Bromptons around Canberra. The cycleways are extensive and I think the easiest way to discover the city and enjoy the lake. No worries about parking either.

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