Back on a Bicycle

13 Apr

Bar Wonderland

March 26, 2012

The day before I had promised J.J. that we could rent bicycles, the equivalent to Toronto’s Bixie Bikes, however it would be an understatement to say that I was dreading the activity of big city riding after a fairly significant wipeout last June when I put my front wheel into a streetcar track. My bike had stayed put while I went flying into the next lane.

Nevertheless, renting bikes was something J.J. really wanted to do and I had promised so off we went in search of a convenience store that sold the $5 bike helmets required by law in the state of Victoria. Outfitted in our royal blue helmets we began to ride, I nervously and very cautiously following J.J. through the Melbourne city streets. (Honestly, getting back on a bicycle for the first time since last June to do the Death Ride along the World’s Deadliest Road in Bolivia was easier for me to wrap my head around.)

When we finally got to the park after what seemed like ages, I began to enjoy myself. We passed Rod Laver Arena, Westpac Centre and MCG. The scenery was beautiful with lush green grass, a body of water running through the centre and colourful flora throughout. At one point on the ride J.J. looked back at me and told me to look at something behind me. As I turned to look where he was pointing he stopped dead in front of me which ended with me running into his bike. Awesome.

We finished our ride by passing the Royal Botanic Gardens and dropping off our bikes at the location closest to Chapel Street. That afternoon was spent shopping (J.J. bought his first pair of skinny jeans – the hipster Aussie culture caught up to him!) and lunching at little Italian spot called La Camera. Good food and if ordering a lunch special (any pasta or risotto) the prices are really good.

We had planned to end our afternoon with a cocktail at one of the many live music venues we’d come across the day before, however we learned that live music was more of a weekend thing along Chapel Street so we settled on Bar Wonderland, a cozy bar with an insanely cheap happy hour: $3 for pints, house wine and champagne. Sold. We ended up spending a couple of hours there and decided we’d order one of the pizzas they offered on special for dinner. The bartender informed us that they had run out of pizza (weird, no?) but that we could go across the street and pick one up to eat in the bar, so we did.

We decided we’d try our luck at live music at one more bar, The Lucky Coq, but unfortunately ran into the same trouble – live music was only there on weekends. We had a drink there before grabbing a cab on the street and making our way back to Urban Central so that we could pack up our things and be ready to head toward the Great Ocean Road in the morning.

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