Ride The Talk The RIDE

Week 12 – Perth & environs

Sorry for the hiatus in posting this everyone. I have been busy since this week took place – the 12th in my odyssey.

After my rest-up in Lancelin, I got back on my trusty bike for the notional 101km haul into the outer suburbs of Perth. My destination today is Padbury and I head back out to the main highway and start on my way – headwinds again greet me, so today is likely to be a slog. By the time I make it about 90km, I am desperately in need of a break and some cold drink, so it is with great delight that I find a roadhouse and I go in for a ‘pitstop’.

Replenished, I carry on and soon come to the outer ‘burbs. I head towards the coast to get off the main drag and wend my way through the meandering roads. Thankfully, my ‘smart phone’ guides me to my destination (I can’t thank Vodafone enough for the use of this phone – it saves so much weight in paper maps). My hosts for the next 2 days are the brother of a friend from work’s partner and his wife – the wife is married to his brother just in case you’re wondering. 😉 I immediately am made to feel at home by Dick and Ruth and indeed do feel very at home – their sense of humour meshes very well with mine. This day’s distance ended up being 113.4km travelled in just under 5 hours – a good time considering the conditions.

I think I need to say at this point that I am getting some tremendous assistance from people back in Melbourne – Wendy (the friend from work alluded to above) is doing a fantastic job organising billets for me from the membership of the ATA. My wife, Sue, and another friend Francesca, have been working tirelessly to try to keep getting me talks ahead of where I am. Without their very important help, this venture would have fallen in a heap long ago. The people from PlanBig, where I had my first web presence were so taken by what I am doing they have provided me with PR/media support – an area in which I have absolutely no expertise – and are managing to get me media exposure in most places I have been. Thank you to all of my supporters – it is only through your efforts that I can do this.

The next day is spent trying to organise a talk for Perth – there seems to have been most difficulty getting gigs in the capital cities for some reason and, in Perth, the councils appear to have been doing talks on energy efficiency recently. I manage, through the local branch of the ATA, to get a talk happening for Wednesday night – their normal monthly meeting was to be a round-up of the current state of solar feed-in tariff in WA. Now, I will provide the main event with a segue to FiT within the talk. This should work well as minimising energy use in the home will provide maximum benefit from the nett feed-in tariff happening here.

On Tuesday I pack up and head down to Perth proper – a mere 10.7km as it turns out but this will allow me to ride to the meeting on Wednesday without becoming too sweaty. Simon, my new host, is a Green Loans Assessor and an outstanding cook to boot. He and his wife Jane live in a property in Karrinyup with 2 dogs (Scruff & Barney) and half a dozen chooks. He whips up a kangaroo tatake salad to everyone’s  great delight and, since I won’t be riding tomorrow morning, I allow myself the indulgence of a cider and a bit of wine. Whilst my tendency these days is towards minimal meat, I do enjoy kangaroo and this meat has a very low environmental impact. Simon is also involved in the Permaculture scene – one which will have a great influence over the coming years.

Wednesday’s talk goes well except for a technical glitch – my netbook doesn’t boot! This has happened before and I know how to fix it but my tools for doing so are back at Simon’s place. Oh well, there are only 8 slides in my show anyway so I will have to ‘wing’ it. I guess this is yet another benefit of having done the training in public speaking – I don’t get ruffled by this at all. The talk goes over well and, with the majority of the audience ATA members, the questions tend to be more technical than normal.

On Thursday, Simon takes me down to King’s Park – a delightful park that overlooks the Swan River and Perth proper. The views are magnificent and we could stroll for hours but Simon & Jane have organised a group of friends to come over tonight for dinner. Have I said that the people I stay with are the salt of the earth? Well, to a person, they are! Simon has been busy trying to fill billet gaps in my itinerary down in the South-West and has come through with a billet that will break a big ride to Bridgetown.

Friday sees me leaving Karrinyup bound for South Fremantle but first I need to go to East Perth to book my bus trip back from Albany – I have a date on a train across the Nullarbor that I MUST keep! I head off down towards the sea to take in the sights and then back across town. The detour takes my day’s distance to just over 66km but I arrive quite fresh in Hulbert Street and make my way to the “Painted Fish”. Tim and Shani have offered me the “Carriage” – a converted railway van.

For those not in the know – and I used to count myself as one here – Hulbert St, Sth Fremantle is an exercise in grass roots sustainability activism. There is an amazing village feel to this suburban street which hosts an annual Fiesta and tonight they are having a street film about sustainable fishing. Everyone brings a plate of food to share and a seat. It is this kind of thing that draws communities together and provides a template for future living.

There is a world-wide movement called Transition Towns that is trying to do something similar but Hulbert St is the brainchild of Tim & Shani who wanted to get away from the notion of people living separate lives, divorced from the land as most suburbs are. They have encouraged the uptake of renewable technologies so that 37% of houses in the street now have solar PVs on their roofs. They have also encouraged productive gardens and there are even vegies being grown on nature strips. There is also a cargo bike that can be used by anyone in the street to do shopping with, in order to minimise the use of cars. This is truly an example that can be followed by any community wanting to live more harmoniously with the planet.

I will stay here tomorrow, Saturday and move on towards Bunbury on Sunday.

1 reply on “Week 12 – Perth & environs”

Hey John,

sorry been a while since I checked in on how you were progressing. Great to see all is going well and by the looks of your post above, you’re learning and being inspired daily too.

Great post, loved the part about the Transition Towns and how Tim and Shani have been working on their street. That sounds fantastic. Here in London or even at my place in Cyprus it’s very much separate lives. I’d love to see that change to at least what it was like growing up in a small town in NZ or even better to what Tim and Shani have been working on.

Good luck, keep up the great work. You must be buzzing mate…


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