On Italian Roads: from Pavia to Tortona to Genova (4/5 June – Days 11 &  12)

4 June – Pavia to Tortona I didn’t pedal away until 11:00 – so much for an early start. It was easily 40* on the road today making the 51 kilometres, well, hot. I left Pavia by riding over the covered bridge – which was cool – then I was back into the outer suburbs with their light industry and big box discount stores. The road was busy but traffic accommodating – giving me room and no agro. The ride was not lovely. Basically I was crossing river flats full of outer suburbs and agriculture. I managed to get stuck …

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Naked Liberation at No 42 Lady Bay Beach – 22 February 2015

Until recently I was dreading Lady Bay. It is the second of, I think, three  ‘clothing optional’ beaches in Sydney (this one granted that status in 1976). The first in this project was beach No 13: Cobblers. I am not generally inclined to get my kit off in public. Prior to Cobblers I never had and I found the experience fairly nerve-wracking. Back then (20 February 2011 – so almost four years exactly) I was not as well equipped, mentally, to look at things that made me uncomfortable, step back, and question why. But several weeks ago, thinking about Lady Bay, I asked …

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You May Have Your Mansion But the Beach is There for All – No 41, Kutti (1 February 2015)

Kutti Beach is in Vaucluse, long the most affluent of Sydney suburbs and still in the top five. Prior to European colonisation the area was home to the Birrabirragal clan of the Dharug language group. They named the whole area, now called Watsons Bay, Kutti. That the usual Sunday crowds are waiting at Watsons Bay is evident on the wharf at Circular Quay.     I am set to meet Tom Allen, his wife Tenny and her sister Narineh under the big Morton Bay Fig in Robertson Park at 1 pm.  Tom is a bicyclist and all-around adventurer, blogger, filmmaker and bicycle advocate. …

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Is this heaven? No, it’s Bundeena – No 38 Horderns (21 December 2014)

This summer’s beaches have created challenges. I should have begun with No 35 Gunyah (Brooklyn) – up on the Hawkesbury – but it can only be reached from the water so I need my mate and his boat at a time that works for us both and the weather is amenable. I broke my rules and skipped to No 36 Gunyah (Bundeena); No 37 is Halletts – another Hawkesbury beach with water access only – has been added to the boating list. Which brings us back to Bundeena for No 38, Horderns. I’ve failed to find the connection but I …

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Finding Inspiration at the Art Gallery of NSW

I spent part of New Years Day at the Art Gallery of NSW having a wander through the exhibits. The text accompanying Tony Albert’s Hey Ya! (Shake it Like a Polaroid Picture) read, in part Ritsi (the young man in the photographs) and Albert share an experience of re-connection to country and community by following the movements of their ancestors.   Part of what I’ll be doing on my Big Ride is, in a way, just this: I’ll be re-connecting with the places my antecedents lived for thousands of years by following their movements across Europe. I will visit reminders and …

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I Think You Must Leave Australia to Become Fully Australian – No 36 Gunyah (Bundeena) 23 November

It’s late November and this is only the first beach of the summer. I’ve been delayed by the hopes of sticking to my rule of visiting the beaches in strictly alphabetic order. Beach number 35 is Gunyah (Brooklyn) which can only be reached from the water so I’ve been waiting for my boat-owning friend’s schedule to mesh with mine on a day with fine weather. It’s proving a challenge so I decided to break the rules and set No 35 aside to press on to No 36. There are, I think, a couple of same-name, different-location beaches to be visited …

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No 12: Clontarf Beach – 5 February 2011

Per Wikipedia the suburb of Clontarf is named after a district in Dublin, Ireland. But far more interestingly this beach, in 1868, was site of Australia’s first attempted political assassination. Henry James O’Farrell, an alcoholic recently released from a lunatic asylum, shot Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh – second son of Queen Victoria – in the back. The Prince survived, most colonists were embarrassed and outraged (and took it out on the Irish as expected). A hospital was opened to memorialise the drama. Thus: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. One hundred and forty-three years later there seems to be some drama around dog poo. Clean up after …

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