Summer by numbers

On the fourth day of Autumn, we sweltered in 35° celsius and 90% humidity. I didn’t ride. No need and too hot. However, during the Gregorian calendar’s thirteen weeks of summer, I rode quite a bit – to shop, to swim at the beach, to enjoy a coffee, to commute to work and to go out for dinner on balmy tropical nights. Here is my summer by numbers…

877       Kilometres travelled by bicycle

134       Most kilometres ridden in a single week

100       Journeys taken by bicycle

90         Days of summer

67         Days on which I rode my bike

67         Average number of kilometres per week

62         Pedal hours

46.8      Fastest speed (km/hr) – yes that’s downhill 🙂

32         Journeys under 5 kilometres

4           Days I had to turn around because king tides made the creek bridges unpassable

3          Minties I met

2          Middle-aged women who survived riding in a concrete skatebowl

1          Live snakes – a story yet to be told…

20180107 MTB beach ride IMG_4868 large

With the launch of Mobikes last week, the Gold Coast joined the many cities that provide a public bike-share scheme.

Bike-sharing schemes allow people to share public bicycles. Their successful use contributes to creating sustainable cities by providing residents and visitors a transport option with low environmental impact. The specific features of each bike-share scheme vary from city to city.

With Mobike, the Gold Coast City Council has opted for a dockless bike-share scheme. Put simply, this means that the share bike can be left anywhere. This contrasts with bike-share schemes I’ve seen in Brisbane, Oslo, Copenhagen and Gothenburg which all have docking stations for returning the bikes (click on the hyperlinks links to read about my experiences in those cities).

Dockless systems track hire bikes via GPS. The rider must first download an app to their mobile phone, create an account and set up details for paying the bike hire charges. Then the rider finds a share bike and using the mobile phone scans the QR code on the bike. This unlocks the bike, making it available for riding. To signal their hire is over, the rider must scan the QR code again before leaving the bike.

Convenience and affordability are the two advantages dockless systems are said to bring. On the flip side, dockless share bikes have cluttered footpaths when not parked appropriately, have been vandalised, thrown into waterways and wedged high into the limbs of urban trees. It gets messy. Perhaps that’s why I prefer to see the neat line-up of bikes at docking stations. There’s that reason and also the responsibility engendered by having to return a bike to somewhere.

One week of the Mobikes on the Gold Coast, and most of them were seen behaving well, standing upright to the side of a pathway or around a designated bicycle parking area. And they look very appealing with their bright orange wheels and silver frames. Helmets are provided and each bike has a sturdy rack for carrying a beach towel, a briefcase or a bag of groceries.

Having a bike-share scheme on the Gold Coast is a great initiative and I hope it’s well-used, enjoyed and respected. At the moment, I can’t see a use for bike share within my transport needs on the Gold Coast but if that changes, I’ll let you know.


Mobikes parked at a bike rack on the Surfers Paradise esplanade.

20180226 Mobike IMG_4842

Helmets are provided and each bike has a sturdy rack.

20180226 Mobike IMG_4812

The rear mudguard has instructions on ‘How to Mobike’.

20180226 Mobike IMG_4805

Nicely parked along the Surfers Paradise esplanade.



Visiting the Minties

The Minties are in town again. Not the sweet, mint-flavoured lollies that plucked amalgam fillings from innocent teeth in the seventies. I mean the good people from the Royal Australian Mint who have brought their mobile coin press to the Gold Coast.

A couple of weeks ago, I dropped my plans for the afternoon, jumped on my Brompton folding bike and headed north to Broadbeach. The latest Mint News had landed in my emails that morning telling me the Royal Australian Mint had a pop-up shop at the newly-opened Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Superstore. The pop-up shop would be at Broadbeach for three days to coincide with Australia Day celebrations. Realising that afternoon was the only chance I’d have to see the pop-up shop over the three days, I pedalled feverishly into a hot northerly headwind for fifteen kilometres to get there before the Superstore closed for the day. I made it! Yes, sweaty. But I made it.

The Royal Australian Mint produces Australia’s circulating coins. It also produces proof and uncirculated coins to sell as collector items. If you’re wondering why the Mint is at the GC2018 Superstore, think medals. The Minties (the talented people from the Royal Australian Mint who design, mint and release coins) have been instrumental in producing the medals for the 2018 Commonwealth Games which will be held on the Gold Coast between April 4-15.

The design of the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals was created by artist, Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, a local Nunukul, Ngugi and Goenpul woman of Quandamooka Country. The shifting sands and tidal changes that define the Gold Coast coastline inspired her design. Motifs of shells and freshwater reed are present too.

Here’s how the Mint describes the process for making the GC2018 medals:

“The Royal Australian Mint used its largest coin press to produce all of the medals. Each medal blank is individually inspected by hand and then struck four times to ensure the design is perfectly formed on the metal surface. The gold and silver medals are struck four times, twice at 280 tonnes and then another two times at 260 tonnes. The bronze medals are also struck four times but at 460 tonnes. Once they are removed from the press, the medals are inspected again, ensuring the medal is faultless and ready to be awarded to the Commonwealth Games champions.”

As well as making the GC2018 medals, the Mint has also produced commemorative coins.  Some of the XXI Commonwealth Games coins have limited mintage (there will be only 1000 of the $50 Gold Proof Coin produced). Others like $1 Coloured Frosted Uncirculated Borobi coin, will be unlimited. And this leads me to the Mint’s mobile coin press. For people who buy a Borobi commemorative coin at the pop-up shop, the mobile press will imprint a small map of Australia on the coin.

I met the Minties, had a yarn and learnt that I needn’t have rushed to the Superstore that afternoon because they’re coming back again. From February 23-25, the Mint pop-up shop will be at Broadbeach in the GC2018 Superstore. Apparently they’ll also be visiting again during the Games. The Superstore is filled mostly with souvenirs which may or may not be of interest to you. For me, the little corner occupied by the Minties made it worth the visit.

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Superstore at Broadbeach

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Superstore at Broadbeach

Inside the GC CW2018 Superstore

Signs and souvenirs in the GC2018 Superstore

Royal Australian Mint Pop-up shop

Royal Australian Mint Pop-up shop

2018 Commonwealth Games Medals

2018 Commonwealth Games Medals designed by Delvene Cockatoo-Collins


Reverse side of 2018 Commonwealth Games Medals

Brompton meets Borobi

My Brompton met the little blue Borobi while visiting the GC2018 Superstore and they seemed to get on quite well.



%d bloggers like this: