Best new website this century? Melbourne bike paths plotted on Google world

Now this is what I call a great inovation: Bikely.  It plots bike paths, and users’ favourite on-road bike routes, on a street directory, and lets you look at the map in three views: standard street directory, Google world satellite imagery, or the latter with key roads superimposed (‘hybrid view’). Check out the 10 km loop taking in the Yarra Boulevard here, for example, and the instructions here.  All Abbotsford routes here.  The first hyperlink in this post are to all Victorian routes — 1616 of them. It also has running routes, which must also be walking routes.  It will be interesting to see whether it is possible to put links to Flickr images in the instructions. Maybe one day I’ll finish this blog’s first ever post, and plot the King Walk from the Carringbush to Dights Falls on the site as a running route. The beautiful photo is courtesy of A J Shcroetlin of Colorado.  Leave a comment if you think this site is as great as I do.

Staying in country pubs (I knew the discipline would slip sooner or later)

Henceforth, this is no longer a blog about Abbotsford as I choose to define Abbotsford. It is about that and country pubs, in particular those with old fashioned accommodation still operational (endangered species). There is a Flickr group on the subject (a future project of mine) but precious little else. If you know any other than Jeparit’s Hindmarsh Hotel, Dimboola’s Victoria Hotel, and Queenscliff’s Royal Hotel where you might enthuse about staying, let me know. (I bought Country Pubs of Victoria at Grub St Bookshop yesterday before heading over to the John Wren exhibition at the Racing Museum in Federation Square, of which much more anon.)

I went to Beechworth today and took the Canondale for a spin on the rail trail, discovering in the process the Commercial Hotel, just shy of 150 years old, and apparently in good hands. It is pictured, 3 times (the fourth is a gorgeous house in Beechworth). The pub’s proprietor fellow told me that I wouldn’t find too many hotels in Victoria in as original a condition as this one, and I believed him. It is a beautiful place — Ned Kelly used to drink there — and you can get a smallish simple clean rennovated double room containing a washbasin and a new bed — nothing else — for $65 a night (3 nights for the price of two) or bed, breakfast and 2 course dinner and champagne for $85 a couple, a bloody good deal.

Gipps St Steps to Go

Only one flight of the forty-one Gipps St steps, which are to be replaced with a ramp are pictured. For many Abbotrigines, they are the starting point for any trip on the main Yarra bike path away from the city. No doubt many trips to the Collingwood Children’s Farm or the Abbotsford Convent, or Dight’s Falls which would otherwise be made along the safety of the trail are not made because of the stairs.

Having just spent a few days in Amsterdam, I con confirm the truth of the descriptions of the place in this treatment of the announcement in The Age. There are multistorey bike parks like Melbourne car parks there. The dedicated bike lanes means no one has to wear helmets. There are many bicycles designed for carrying substantial loads, what one might call bike utes, and kids ride regularly in their wheelbarrow like trays.

How the replacement of the stps can possibly cost $1.5 million is something I would be very interested to know. Another fascinating question is how it could have been considered a good idea for the teachers’ union’s Mary Bluett and the Police Union’s Paul Mullett to come out with the public criticism that the money could be better put towards (gosh what could it be?), yep, teachers, and police. Links: Continue reading “Gipps St Steps to Go”

Riding on a car-free Yarra Boulevard

With thousands of lycra clad fittos (and some notsofittos), I twirled through a few laps of Yarra Boulevard on 12 March when Bicycle Victoria blocked it off to cars (the next “cyclovia” is on 28 May 2006: 4 km of Sydney Road in Brunswick for 6 hours). It is one of the world’s few events where the coffee is free but water costs. It was all good. There were free muffins, and an Oxfam stall where these wonderful bags made fruit juice packs were for sale. I wonder if everyone else was as ignorant as me about Yarra Boulevard. Did you know that by going to the river end of Gipps St, following the bridge across the Yarra, and continuing up the path straight ahead, you reach Yarra Boulevard, and can then ride along an undulating and winding riverside bushland boulevard which starts nowhere in particular, ends nowhere, and is seemingly only used by late model Mercedes? Continue reading “Riding on a car-free Yarra Boulevard”

Breakfast at the Collingwood Children’s Farm

Long have I waited before posting about the Collingwood Children’s Farm. Meanwhile, a Farm Flickr group has been created. The first post about Abbotsford’s most precious and wonderful asset was supposed to be fittingly splendid. Well, it’s going to be mundane, just eggs and coffee. For the missing Abbotsford breakfastry is upon us, and in a glorious way that the sniffy author of The Breakfast Blog would probably loathe. His readers seem to think that Collingwood is a “Northern suburb” and Abbotsford rates not a review, while Collingwood rates only two, for Gluttony and Cafe Rosamond which latter I must confess I am now curious about.

The missing breakfastry is the Collingwood Children’s Farm Cafe, open Tuesday to Saturday 9.30 to 4.30 during school holidays and “Wednesday to Sunday otherwise”. Continue reading “Breakfast at the Collingwood Children’s Farm”

Hoodlum slashes cabbie; cabbie robs old lady; sniper guns down cyclist

A wave of curious crimes is sweeping over our area. On 19 March a thin Asian hoodlum who seemed to be about 17 years old slashed a cabbie with a knife after getting in on Victoria St, prompting calls for the installation of security screens. Down the road in Thomastown Kathleen Kelsen, an 84 year old woman, probably supports those calls after a cabbie stole $400 from her by convincing her that others had used her taxi card without her knowledge, but that she was responsible for the bill. And in Northcote, Melinda Zygarlicki was shot in the lungs by an unknown sniper whilst crossing a bridge over Merri Creek near Rushall Station on the Merri Bike Path. She thought she had been branded by a tennis ball, or that a bird had flown into her, and rode the rest of the way home. The Herald Sun seems to know something Melinda doesn’t since they are sure that the sniper was a “gunman“. For the photo, thanks to Puss in Boots, a Kuwaiti girl obsessed with Manga.