June 29: Back in Sydney

(At 12:30 pm) Despite sleeping and eating like a refugee last night, my day in Sydney so far has been one of my favorite days of the whole trip! A month ago, I bought and downloaded a cycling guide of New South Wales that included several routes, none of which were applicable to my journey. However, I remembered its "Sydney Circuit", a 40km loop around the city to some of its best spots. I had been expecting bad weather - just about everyone I'd talked to in Cairns warned me of a cold front and rain. Today has been absolutely beautiful! I've been winding my way up the coast past different beaches and lookouts and it's about 70 degrees and sunny. Honestly, it feels just like the Gold Coast! On top of it all, I don't have to worry much more about where I'm going next. I feel pretty relaxed knowing that I get to stay in one place for the next couple of days and make the most of it before heading home. I'm running out of space on my second memory card and this route is taking forever because I have to stop every 10 minutes to take pictures!

(later) Of course, the rest of the day unfolded in an interesting manner. I finished most of the circuit (more fantastic scenery) but had to break it up to find my cell phone carrier's store and potential hostels for the night. I was completely out of phone credit and neither of my credit cards would work with the recharging system. After finally locating a store that would sort it out near the city center, I sat on a park bench in Hyde Park, having a snack and reading through my guide book to figure out what I was going to do that evening. At 5:30, a cyclist approached my bench: "Are you here for critical mass?" My response was "Well, I didn't think I was, but is there one meeting here?" Critical mass is a type of cycling event where (ideally) a huge group of cyclists meet up to ride around the streets to remind drivers of their presence, raise awareness, etc. I stuck around, figuring it would be nice to meet a huge crowd local bike enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the "mass" was not so massive - only another 6 people showed up - but we rode around the city for about a half hour anyway. One guy was about 6'5", 250lbs, and had a personal vendetta against cab drivers, going out of his way to, well, get in their way. Eventually we found our way to a pub and had a few beers. The organizer of the event, Peter, offered me a mattress at his place just outside the city in Hornsby and I accepted. It's funny how the cycling world really seems to have its own community! Peter had a trip to the Blue Mountains lined up for the early morning, so I got up at 6 and we were back on the train by 7:30.

Peter and more Sydney cyclists

I'm in the city now at the Entertainment Quartet markets near Moore Park and the football arenas. More city exploring today and a mega-update on last week's trip to Cairns is on the way.

1 comment:

  1. Critical Mass has a decentralized (rather than hierarchical) structure. Critical Mass is sometimes called an "organized coincidence", with no leadership or membership