Get your ride on this Saturday

We have a promising weather forecast for Saturday and the plans are all coming together.

Let’s remember our start times, when you need to be at the intersection of Wray Avenue and Hampton Road:

  • Original Route: 10.30
  • Half-way Route: 11.00
  • Family Ride Route: 11.30

There is more information on the ride here.

From 12.15, we’ll be having entertainment and food at Replants,  96 Wray Avenue. This will include music from Sian Brown, Ewan Buckley, Dave Robertson, Crying Town and Tasha M.

We also want people writing Bike Haiku throughout the day and presenting these in between acts. If you have any interesting and inspiring bike-relates stories, we’d love you to share those  with everyone too.

There will be vegetarian food available for a donation, with all money going to the musicians. I have invited the Fremantle Primary School P&C to rattle tins to raise money for their playground as well, so please give generously.

Bike events at Replants will include:

  • A slow bike race
  • Musical “chairs” by bike
  • An obstacle course – “The gWRAYnd National”
  • A bicycle pinada

It seems Fremantle is going off on Saturday with low-emission events. From 4pm, Fremantle Follies will be running another cruise through the streets of inner Fremantle for anyone who still has the riding bug. You can join the Facebook event here.

Then there is more music and fun at Clancy’s Fish Pub for the Fremantle Community Wind Farm Project. Rock on!

If anyone has any time to volunteer some help, I’d love to know about it. I still have a couple of things I need help with and stuff like this doesn’t happen without good people chipping in.

Thanks to people who have “registered”. I now have a good sense of numbers, so I am going to remove that as it has given the impression that it is some sort of “official race”. The objective of the Old Time Road Ride is to connect the community – people who live on, frequent and use Wray Avenue – and celebrate history in the area. It also happens to land on International Slow Ride Day, so let’s look to that and enjoy our ride and the places we ride through.

With that in mind, here’s some of the wonderful wildflowers that are out for Spring that people riding the full, Original Route will have a chance to spy on Saturday!

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Wanted, a “very fair field of cyclists”

Whoa! Is it August already?

That leaves me scant little time to big up this little event I’ve wanted to get happening for a while now.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across a great event that first took place on Wray Avenue way back in 1896, when it was then called Hampton Street, of course!

The event was a bicycle race, coordinated by the Fremantle Bicycle Club. It was a 17.5 mile (28 kilometre) return run from Beaconsfield Hotel (now Moondyne Joe’s Hotel) to the ten mile well, now the site of the Ten Mile Well Hotel, on Rockingham Road in Wattleup.

F.B.C Road Race, from The Inquirer and Commercial News, 11 September 1896

F.B.C Road Race, from The Inquirer and Commercial News, 11 September 1896

I’ve read a lot about Fremantle’s love affair with the bicycle over a hundred years ago – something we are fortunate enough see happening again these days – and thought it’d be great to revive this race which ran up until the first world war.

My vision is for more of a social ride rather than an all out race that gives everyone in our community an opportunity to participate – although the speediest are welcome to try to beat A. Bolton’s original time of 55 minutes return to Ten Mile Well!

I’ve planned out three routes for different levels of cycling ability.

  • Route 1: Moondyne Joe’s to the Ten Mile Well Hotel (about 30km, 1-1.5 hours return)
  • Route 2: Moodyne Joe’s to Spearwood Hotel (about 15km, 0.5-1 hour return)
  • Route 3: Moondyne Joe’s to the old Harvest Hotel (about 4km, 20 mins return)

With a race schedule to wrap up about midday, I’d love to have a street barbecue afterwards, some fun awards and possibly even some live music to celebrate the start to Spring. I’d hoped to get it together for the first Saturday in Spring  but that clashes with the election, so I’m pitching for Saturday the weekend the following week – September 14.

Feel free to post here if you think this is a good idea, want to come on the ride or help out on the day. And stay in touch as I finalise details.

Yoga Wrayurveda!

Last night I did one of the things that’s been on my to-do list for so long it has been gathering cobwebs: I went to a yoga class.

The end of year stress has been tightening my shoulders and traps so much that I’ve been in a real slump. I’ve always known yoga would be beneficial for this kind of thing and a whole lot more besides, including helping some general back problems that I have.

The Yogaveda Wellness Centre has been a yoga studio next to the Brown Cow Designs office beside Moondyne Joe’s for a while. When I went past the other day I picked up a timetable and made up my mind to go early Tuesday morning before work. That didn’t work out so I planned to make the afternoon session instead. That also didn’t work out but I new I had to preservere with my plan or yoga would go back to gathering dust and spider webs on my list.

I made the difficult decision to skip the South City Precinct meeting (where a couple of Wray Avenue matters we on the agenda) and take care of myself. I wasn’t disappointed.

I went to a beginner’s session run by Mimi (the usual instructor is Nikki Leaf but she was away in India). Mimi was very welcoming and extremely considerate of my lack of experience. She helped explain and model each of the positions from the session and guided me through achieving the correct form or modifying it to suit my embarrassing lack of flexibility.

The centre itself looks simple but clean and inviting. I’m not sure whether the aesthetic – polished floorboards and exposed brick – would appeal to hardcore yoga practitioners but I felt at ease and comfortable in the space.

The session cost $17 but you can reduce it to $15 if you pay up front for 10 sessions. All equipment is provided, including mats, rugs, cushions, blocks and straps.

As far as my back was concerned, I probably got a better outcome from this session than acupuncture or massage which costs considerably more. I’m really looking forward to my next session and, when I’m back from my summer holiday, will be purchasing a 10 session ticket!

A light Wray-l option?

Since roadworks began earlier this year as part of the South Street upgrade, I’ve become very conscious of the increased amount of public transport travelling on Wray Avenue. Even though the roadworks have finished, I’m pretty certain that more routes travel up Wray than did previously.

While it has certainly made my trip home from work easier, as more bus connections stop by my house than ever before, it has also made the street considerably noisier and more hazardous. Case in point, earlier this week I heard a loud bang on the street. When I went to look, I discovered that a bus had collided with a parked ute, its driver having left the tail of his vehicle jutting out from the parking spot on the corner of Brennan and Wray while he shopped at Galati’s. I’m certain that buses speed along this stretch and the narrow street, with parking either side, means that they often overhang their lane. Car drivers aren’t exactly supportive. And don’t get me started about the hazards faced by cyclist!

I should point out that I’m a big fan of public transport, even with these perils and fully support it. In fact, I’m the sort of nut that gets excited at the development of public infrastructure. I don’t know why, but I find myself enthused by proposals to extend railway lines, improve connectivity and reintroduce tramlines.

I’ll admit then that I’ve often sat on the porch of my Wray Avenue cottage and wondered what it would be like to have trams, rather than buses, rolling past on their way east to the suburbs or downtown to the train station.

To my mind, Wray Avenue would make a perfect road for such a tram line. I would imagine that the corner of South Street and South Terrace is too tight and the gradient of South Street too steep to climb. With increasing retail in the Wray Avenue precinct, a stop at the bottom would be essential.

This led me to investigate the history of trams in Fremantle and whether they’d ever run up Wray. It turns out that they did.

Fremantle’s first tramways began in 1905. I haven’t been able to find a map of the routes but from what I can gather, by April of 1906 there were several routes servicing Fremantle [1].

One ran along South Terrace (then called Mandurah Road) at the bottom of Wray Avenue, taking passengers all the way to South Beach.

The Beaconsfield route ran along Hampton Road and turned up Wray Avenue where Moondyne Joe’s (formerly the Beaconsfield Hotel) is and headed up to turn southwards at Solomon Street. This route terminated at the primary school (I presume by continuing along Solomon Street). It was later extended eastwards along South Street to Central Avenue and later again to Carrington Street.

What is interesting is that, from photos that I have seen, there is hardly anyone living along the end of the Beaconsfield lines at these times. It means that people actually had the forethought and vision to put this infrastructure in, anticipating that it would grow with time. It seems strange in our times when there is a lot of talk but no real action on delivering this kind of infrastructure.

As an interesting aside, William Ernst Wray, after whom Wray Avenue was renamed, was elected to the tramways board in 1919 and served as chairman in 1920.

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