Wednesday, 14 November 2012

BBG [bikes, books and a giveaway]

today has been one of those delicious baby bear's porridge days
[not too hot, not too cold but just right]
ie a Very Good day to be alive
as opposed to the other option

blue skies above and that perfect gentle breeze that makes me contemplate adding jingles to my cowboy boots so i can tap-dance down the sidewalk like Gene Kelly.

fortunately New Orleans is spared this sight because i am riding a bicycle.
and not just any bicycle.

meet Berta
named for my maternal grandmother
and resplendent in the colour she loved best [purple -
a word which does not rhyme with any other]

Berta has big fat tyres to deal with bumpy roads
[Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac played a role here],
a comfy sprung seat and an elegant basket.
all that is missing is Toto.
she is a country kind of bicycle.

a hundred years ago when i was an eager young architecture student with more energy than sense i rode to the University of Adelaide [and back] on my bicycle.  i should mention that home was on Mount Lofty, elevation 727 metres which doesn't sound much until you convert it to feet and it becomes 2385.17.
we lived about 50 of those [vertically] from the summit.

the trip to town took about 40 minutes and the feel of the wind blowing in my hair was divine [this was in the time before our nanny-state government fined anyone not wearing an ice-cream bucket on their head whilst on two wheels. now it will cost you $59]

going back up was another matter entirely and took about 2 and a half hours with the exception of the night i was dashing home to go out to a dance when i set my record of one hour and twenty mintues [NOT on a racing bike i might add]. unfortunately it was a bit of a wasted effort. my date, though cute, was not very keen on dancing so it was a night spent standing about. sigh.

back to bicycling.
i loved it then but in recent years my view of cyclists has been somewhat soured. South Australian cyclists seem to have an unspoken code that requires them to dress like luminous insects in neon coloured skintight lycra. the effect of which as it becomes transparent due to perspiration is frankly mindboggling, especially when the cyclist in front of you rises from his seat in order to attempt a particularly steep hill.

also they insist on riding three abreast on winding roads where passing is impossible due to blind corners and double lines

and adding insult to injury they refuse to use the $1,000,000 [not joking] bicycle track built through the Adelaide Hills [more properly called the Mount Lofty Ranges], preferring to clog the roads instead
[a lovely golden retriever and a nice lady with a pram are making good use of it though]

so with all this in mind i am being especially careful here in New Orleans.
people drive big, unforgiving trucks [yes, i'd like one myself]
- American drivers can make a right hand turn [the equivalent would be left in Oz] on a red light and Louisiana drivers rarely use their indicators. my friend Nikki says that indicators are considered optional extras that most drivers don't recall ordering with their cars]

and did i mention that unlike Oz where you have three seconds grace after the light turns there is an immediate switch and the other lot GOES. fast.

nonetheless it is great fun.

and now to the book [that was in the puddle the other day].

it spent time in the dyebath and then decided it liked the colour so much it wanted to become part of the tree that the leaves [for the dye] came from. Quercus ilex, in case you are wondering.
if you can find the book you can keep it.

clue : Homer Plessy was arrested close by


  1. This is so exciting! Happy Thanksgiving !!!! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart
    I LOVE Bertha!!!

  2. My maternal grandma was Berta too...

  3. What a fun game and a great bike! Just happened to watch this 4 year old about wind in your hair!!

  4. methinks the book out of my arms reach.... drat it

  5. Absolutely delightful story. Thanks for sharing. Love the bike. Love NOLA, I've been there many times but not since grad school a decade ago. Would love to revisit. Eat a muffaletta for me and go dancing at Mulate's.

  6. India ?? corner Press and Royal??? I have just been to a fab Emmylou Harris concert.. she sang an amazing song as a tribute to a 14year old boy/child , negro, who was taken by a mob and nastily killed because in spoke to a white woman ... in 1956... xx isobel

    1. bingo, you got it. now you'll have to hop the puddle and get it :o)

      and as to history? many truly awful things happened - i recall another terrible case not so many years ago in which death was inflicted by dragging the victim behind a pickup truck. vile.

  7. Book to be found...Studio in the part of Tulane University, could I be correct? I dont live near there, but it is my guess the book would find a great view.

  8. Would your delightful book be in a tree near the NOLA train station, by any chance? Shame Connecticut isn't nearby or I'd go take a look at the trees near the station, hoping all the while to see a book viewing all from its lofty perch.

  9. Hi I'm an SA Adelaide girl whom also loves to bike ride. I'm not quite as keen as you conquering Mount Lofty, I just manage the foot hills around seaview downs and along the express way. I love your bike what a fab colour and thanks for taking the effort to promote the Murray and water conservation

  10. i notice lovely fenders to keep the muddy puddles off your person, quite the bike. one thing you forgot about that lycra bling, the odor: synthetic+sweat=shudder+gag.

  11. Lol.... we have the same luminous insect three abreast problem here. I love your discription!

  12. New Orleans, mighty city and one of my favorite places. Visited in 2006 after Katrina, and found resilience, strength and hope. It's a place that grabs hold of you and its mighty spirit remains with you. Since quercus ilex is Holly oak my guess is that the book is nestled in two of the many oak trees in City Parks Live Oaks, a place that "is home to the largest collection of mature live oaks in the world, the oldest between 600 -800 years old."

  13. this book has a story tell, rising from the mud to a lofty view to where next and surely out of sight from silly cyclists who only see themselves.

    1. the view isn't too lofty [at 53 i'm not going to be chasing squirrels for the best spot]...easily retrieved from about waist height...

    2. turned out not to be lofty enough. there are squirrel nibbles on the book today [the only person who has correctly worked out the location of the book lives in Oz so it is still on site]

  14. What a story! All of it. I want that bike. And it makes me think about how sedentary my life has become. You must have a very good heart. Will you be having one of those famous deep fried turkeys for Thanksgiving?

    1. i am very fond of my heart and it does its best. as to turkey fryers, they make fabulous dyepots but the process strikes me as slightly disrespectful to the fowl....

  15. love your blogging - not visited for a while but good to hear the random stories of creative minds tripping along. Long live cycling in all its forms, saw a very odd headline recently about M.A.M.I.L.s.... which stands for Middle Aged Men in Licra. Ahh the need for speed - they even shave their calves. x:)))

    1. crumbs. surely one or two hairs wouldn't make much difference

  16. Yesterday evening the book was still in the tree. A squirrel appears to have taken a nibble but abandoned it as possible supper

  17. Love the book in a tree.
    Biking has changed. The bike riders here act the same - neon spandex, three abreast, narcissistic behavior.

  18. I'm biking and thinking............
    ..........whats new...........