October 12, 2011
The Rural Clinical School, attached to the North-West Regional Hospital in Burnie hosted a breakfast on Wednesday morning to celebrate National Ride to Work Day, along with 150,000 people across Australia.
This year, nearly every Thursday morning a bike breakfast is held for those who ride, walk or run – travel sustainably – to the hospital/clinical school. It is usually populated by the hard core few (five or six) riders, plus a number of 4th and 5th year medical students, but yesterday, NINE bikes were tied up at the bike racks, this year’s record and many more from the hospital and who work at the clinical school walked or ran. It was a splendid morning, with extra special banana (yep, bananas) smoothies, raspberry yoghurt and mountains of mango and muesli.
Burnie itself had a much greater than usual number of commuters pushing pedals yesterday, and generally speaking, a large amount of enthusiasm was expressed for the event, and riding in general. Bring on the commuter revolution.
This is my sister. She has recently moved to Melbourne, to do lots of ‘beautiful-people’ watching (a term Miss Katie has used in the past to describe the well dressed, aesthetically satisfying people who live in inner-Melbourne) and study Art History.
She lives with a lovely cream and orange bike (not sure if it has a name) and has been riding heaps since she’s moved. She mentioned that her thighs are developing from the exercise they’re getting, and that she was missing her bike since she’s been in Tasmania for the last ten days. I sympathized with both statements.
Given the Why Ride campaign and action currently running, I asked her this morning as we sat at (well, on) the kitchen table drinking coffee (she’s come home for her mid-semester break) ‘why do you ride your bike?’. Her responses – Getting places – You go quickly – Feels normal – I feel strong It could be argued that such responses are commonly stated ones by people who ride their bike. It is possible to look beyond the obvious reasons for and outcomes from such statements related to strength, normality and going places. Riding makes us feel strong – our body is nourished, our blood is filled with fresh oxygen, which circulates to our brain and fills it with energy.
Going places. You’ve run out of milk, you need to grab some quickly and it’s 100times easier to ride than drive. It’s Saturday evening and it’s safer (is it?!) to ride than drive home, and cheaper than a taxi. I’ve left my runners in Hobart, I need some exercise … bike ride. A friend once asked me ’Anna what is the way you would like to see the world?’. I answered, after a short deliberation and then fantastic revelation – ‘By bike!’ Once one starts to ride to the milk-shop, journeys get longer, possibilities become grander (my latest is riding in Nepal …) yes, the large, ahem, ‘hills’ are a mild issue). Which is such a gift – to have one’s ‘horizons’ expanded in this way. I know a couple of people who have gone to far off places on their bikes, and I find their stories, and the knowledge of what they, their minds and legs achieved , exceptionally inspiring.
And it feels normal, a term which can relate to necessity and ‘that which is frequently conducted’. Riding can become a ritual in the context of a normal day, along with morning coffee, teeth brushing twice a day, lunch between 12:30 -2:00.
And I thought I would write a piece about her, and share it, given what a wonderful person she is (like the siblings of Liam and Katie). Readers in Melbourne, look out for her and smile if you see her walking, skipping or running by – she’ll warmly return it.