Thursday, September 6, 2012

Springing to Claremont

Spring started with some nasty weather. Wet, windy, cold and even some hail were thrown in for good measure. I was supposed to ride with ex-Tri coach Patrick up north to Hillarys on Tuesday but I chickened out after looking at the "90% chance of a storm" weather forecast. That day, not only did it howled and rained, but ice pellets came down in the morning and afternoon from the heavens. I was glad I wasn't out there cycling in the open.

The storm caused damage to property and I was fortunate that only my lovely Orchid plant fell victim. All the beautiful flowers that took so long to blossom broke off from the stems in a flash of a moment.

Beautiful orchids before the storm damaged it.

Thus, when the sun finally broke out yesterday, we took the opportunity to be out on our saddles. Our destination was the Bethesda Hospital in Claremont, 17km, where our dear buddy Rod just had a minor surgery, and was nicely recovering. It was time to bring him some cheer.

My 2 latest addition to the fold, M & Y, tagged along too and it was nice to meet Uncle Ken at the traffic lights. It was glorious to ride with sunshine and blue skies. We made our way north towards the city riding along the dedicated bike paths that skirted the Swan River. What impressed is how the authorities incorporated art, in the form of metal sculptures that depicted relationships, at scenic spots along the bike path.

Riding along the old Swan Brewery must be one of the best part of this journey with the Perth skyline in our back and the boats of Matilda Bay bobbing in front of us. At Crawley Baths, the famous statue Eliza greeted us, this time draped in bright red. What intrigues is this 2007 work of art always attracts a change of clothes from pranksters and the like to suit a festivity or occasion. Bears testament to the creativity and fun of this city! Here she is to celebrate the Tour de France.

Pic by David Curtis

The iconic boat shed, there for nearly 80 years, is a famous landmark of this area. It is much photographed too and it is easy to see why, especially when all the wild Spring flowers were in full bloom.

We cycled passed UWA and Matilda Bay before turning off along Princess Road. It was nice to see all the bright eyed students going to class and that made me reminisce about my student days. What caught us unprepared were the hills as we made our way towards Bethesda Hospital. Newbies M & Y were huffing and puffing understandably, so I sent Ken off first while I stayed with them. Also, what was tricky were negotiating the roundabouts. 

Bethesda Hospital is a very small private set up that oozes cozy-ness if there was such a thing for hospitals. We were delighted to see Rod looking so cheerful and bright and we thank God that the surgery went well. He had a lovely room with a view of the bay with nice window flowers and all, and it makes for a most pleasant stay. Rod could not wait to recover and the Doctors say he should be out and about in 3 weeks, more than enough time for our Albany to Walpole trip in mid Oct.

We had a Chinese lunch at Broadway near the campus of UWA. I used to eat there for $5 in the late 90s but prices have since doubled. This little shopping centre had very quaint shops and were filled with hungry students all around us. I spotted a cargo bike and was fascinated especially at how it is used as a marketing tool. Its inverted drop bars also gave it such a character.

If possible, I do not like going back the same way but we had no choice as the afternoon was flying by. Here, M & Y who rode on stock saddles on the Speed Pro and the Tern started to complain about their bottoms aching or more accurately, splitting. I took pity on M and offered him my Tikit with the ultra-comfy Brooks B17. That got Y pining for one too. The poison has seeped in !

The ride back was brisk and we took just over an hour to arrive home in Bull Creek despite the presence of the Fremantle Doctor blowing in the wrong direction. All in, it was a marvellous day, completing a very respectable 41km.

Considering that this was the 3rd ride for M & Y, I am very proud of them. Blessed with a beautiful day, springing to see Rod in Claremont was certainly one of those very special rides indeed.

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