An informal guide loosely based on some of my observations from using a bike for professional transport reasons as an adult yet still riding it like a child who has been let loose on a wide footpath.
1. DO look adorable. It is statistically proven* that if you appear to be a miniature sized person on an oversized baby blue bike, cars will think twice before ramming into you.
2. DO thank the Mayor of Sydney for her efforts in making the city more bike friendly by naming your bike after her (Clomo).
3. DO say goodnight to your bike and stroke it lovingly.
4. DO ride to parks and circle them for a good ten minutes, letting out a ‘weeeeeeeeee’ at periodic intervals before passing out on the grass in the sun.
5. DO convince your boyfriend to buy a baguette. When he says that baguettes are not the most useful of breads in the world, proceed to explain how you need it so you can place it in your front basket. Stand resolute in this mission against all odds and any laughter you may encounter. This is one cliché that must live on.
6. DO embrace the bike lanes. After trudging up hills at the breakneck speed of ‘the world’s slowest animal that crawls with a house on its back’ (how my German boyfriend described a snail), and doing so while puffing, panting, sweating and simultaneously trying not to get in the way of the cars that get up those hills so effortlessly, you will no doubt welcome the change of pace and the way you can mindlessly and aimlessly peruse the rather flat lanes on leafy, bike-friendly streets.
7. DO smile at fellow bike-riding comrades. You are part of the two-wheeler army now and you need to stick together. Give each other the salute by way of nodding solemnly, gangster-style. You’ve got their back…wheel.
8. DO ensure your seat is worn in before riding it all over the city. If not, the next day will result in cramps and bruises in places you never even knew existed. Namely your crotch muscles.
9. DON’T buy a helmet that matches your bike. You’re taking number one too far. TOO FAR I say.
10. DO get recognised on the road when passing by friends. Stop ever so casually and be all like ‘gotta wheel away now friend’ and then zip back off again while staring at them ominously, optional exit music as you play yourself out of the scene.
11. DON’T overload the front basket with heavy bags, jackets and scarves because the basket will take its revenge on you out on the road. It will team up with gravity and together they will show no mercy as you drunkenly zig zag down the road trying to keep the scarf from flying out.
12. DO lap up the attention your bike receives by shouting out ‘thank you!’ as you pass by the people dispensing compliments.
13. DON’T crash into a pole while attempting to let others know about the compliment you just received.
14. DO wear a sticker on your helmet that says ‘baby on board’. This can go either way. Either you are with child or you are the child. Keep it vague.
15. DON’T scream ‘ENVIRONMENT KILLERS’ at passing cars.
16. DO pedal faster if you cannot resist the urge to do 15.
17. DON’T let your boyfriend steal your glasses and clean them while waiting for traffic lights to turn green. Without your glasses you have been known to mistake humans for wheelie bins.
18. DO keep trying to take the longer route so you can get lost in tiny streets and laneways and pretend you’re in a Melbourne commercial.
19. DON’T expect others to follow you on your whimsical and lengthy journey.
Most of all remember that the world is now your oyster. And everyone loves to eat oysters. Especially me. So go on and eat the world with your bicycle.
*Statistically proven in one day from my experience as a smaller human being managing to escape the road unscathed against all odds.