Tiny Tim meets David Bowie

It is pretty much a year to the day that I left Melbourne.

Anniversaries are often a time of delayed grief and confusion, as people realise the significance of time passing.

But – for once, I don’t want to dwell. Or at least not on the grief. For this finals season, when the Demons lined up against the Lions, there was no “do or die” attitude, no fierce contest or whatever – it was an entirely friendly affair. Like a charity match or something.

Life-wise – suffice to say I know that I adore my friends, those women, dammit even men, my friends.

Bike-wise – hands down Melbourne is more bike friendly. But Vegas is investing and I am loving being a part of a change for good. It’s going to heat up in Brisbane (not at risk of that happening in changeable Melbourne) but I am prepared for the challenge. I was sad to have to cut my bike tour short at Blakey and Kate’s, but I’m keen to hear how Blakey and Nik went in Radelaide in the cyclohotcrossbuns with Gemma. Dry cyclocross – possible it seems indeed! I didn’t get to ride with Laura, but given how I got dropped on the Brunswick St hill by Mim, I think the Choongdeath would have killed me.

The Brompton was a total godsend.

Please see it here having fun at Mitte.

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This brave steed has gone up hill and down dale and into shops and cafes and restaurants like a handbag dog. Only less annoying for the other patrons. I’ve demo’d it to friends – even had the old Clarke St gang out on the street, the little girl from next door showing me her balance bike while I demonstrated the folding. Unlike me – Zoe is only three and adept at maintenance – she brought me out her pump and gave her bike some “tyre food”. Leon is thinking he’d like to get one for traveling in Europe. If he can just finish the damn renovations.

I tell you what – above even the sheer convenience, the great big bag that I’ve filled with stuff, the exciting transformers action – I’ve loved the Brompton because it starts conversations. I’ve talked to mothers with curious children, hipsters in a hurry, friendlies who were astonished then happy, and total strangers who somehow felt less strange.

Like these Gentlemen Riders, who so kindly allowed JD’s Brompton a space on the wall.

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I’m always pretty surprised when someone I don’t know is reading my blog. Pretty much all of my readers are people I have photographed, friends or that guy from America who is sitting on the .com until I succumb and buy it.

Mark, the nice chap at the front left – had been a reader but – at some point he stopped after my blog got, well, swallowed up by my life.

I considered stopping writing here for a while. There didn’t seem to be much point as Brisbane had no pretty helmets. Or so I thought.

If I am honest, I was just down, and it’s hard to talk to strangers about their helmets when your heart is broken in a millions pieces.

Over time, my eyes have adjusted to the new city, the warm heat and the feeling of lightness. Brisbane has a fighting chance, and I for one am delighted to be a part of it.

Things have worked out a lot better than I thought.

Melbourne will always be spiritual “home” and I can’t say that I didn’t miss the cafes, the wine bars, the shopping and the friends. But they will be there, for visiting – and really – after the initial
Tourism flush – I know that one cannot live by wine bars alone.

Some time ago, I went with a friend as she got a tattoo in Brisbane, the tattoo artist (who had moved from Melbourne) making an interesting comment – “Melbourne is amazing, but all that amazing stuff, well, I just didn’t get to it all. Brisbane is a great place to get on with what you love, because you’re not going to be distracted by all this amazing stuff.”

It seemed backhanded at the time, a slur against the city for being too provincial or suburban to have enough amazing stuff. After a year, I’m inclined to agree – but not because there isn’t amazing stuff going on in Brisbane – there is. But because I have to admit, there’s something amazing about not being pulled in a million directions – “needing” a single speed, a road bike, a cyclocross bike, a tourer, a mountain bike – yet being so busy I’d never ride any of them.

I will miss my friends, they are my anti-depressants, but I am looking forward to home.

And I’m inclined to agree with Lily (the tattoo lady), Brisbane is a nice place to get on with what you love. Not to belittle the city, on the contrary – I say this as a high mark of respect and affection.

Because to get on with what you love, you have to know what it is you love.

And I’m beginning to think I know what I love.

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By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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