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!