27 December 2011
TriHards Receive an Cycling Education!
Do you know where Lady Jessie Street was born? How about who opened the Carillon? Or who planted the “Lone Pine” tree near the Australian War Memorial? More importantly, did you know you can find the answers to all of these - and more - questions merely by riding around Canberra on your bike? It is a great shame that if you were to ask many Canberran locals when the last time they visited one of the fantastic - and free - public institutions scattered about this town, most of them would say never, or not since the last time out-of-towners visited.
The team at Cycle Education have taken their name to heart, and organised a brand new event for Canberra - the Cycle Education Trivia ride. The ride was a rogaine in nature - riders would be provided with maps marked with checkpoints of varying values. Though there were no simple stamps at checkpoints - that would be too easy. RIders had to reach the checkpoint, and discover a little fact about that spot, writing the answer on the provided question sheet. So, not only did the event test local knowledge, navigational skills, but also rider’s ability to read, write and, in some cases count! Oh, and let’s not forget riding!
This fun, and relatively informal event was open to all comers - from serious solos to frivolous families. The Immoral Support Crew had recently purchased her own flash new bike, with electric pedal assist, which seemed entirely reasonable to her. After all, if the Cyborg can enter so many events with his medically enhanced and reinforced bits, why can’t she take advantage of technology? So, after some brief enquiries, as to the legality of using said bike in an event, the TriHards team of the Cyborg, Immoral Support Crew and Leading Lassy entered; Junior entered in the solo category.
So it was that on the first Saturday of December, the TriHards turned up; the Immoral Support Crew with her electric commuter; the Cyborg on his ready roady (having discovered a his Giant had a flat that morning!), the Leading Lassy on the maiden’s mountain bike and Junior on his trusty Avanti. But their mixed bag o’ bikes was nothing! Around the HQ there were high-end mountain bikes, folding bikes, roadies, and even a bicycle made for four! These were ridden by solo riders, fit and hungry looking mountain bikers, orienteers with map boards on their bikes and families with tagalongs attached (or, of course, a bicycle made for four!)
After a brief briefing at nine, the riders set off to learn as much about Canberra as they could in the three hours allotted, over a course which extended all around Lake Burley Griffin, including a few of the surrounding mountains just for good measure. Junior, the man on a mission, set off straight away without looking back, while the remaining TriHards formulated a plan. While they formulated, they discovered how much a floating granite sphere weighs...
Then they were off to head west, and over the Commonwealth Avenue bridge, with a view to grabbing a few checkpoints around near the National Museum of Australia, before completing a lap of the lake. This plan gave them access to plenty of checkpoints, as well as a quick route back to the HQ should they start to run out of time. Once over the bridge they popped into Mr Spokes, who would have had many more bikes coming in than going out that day! From there it was off to the National Museum of Australia to count moths, and read signs... See, nothing too hard! The TriHards weren’t even tempted to ride up the huge bike ramps on offer there.
The ride turned into a regatta, well, not really, the TriHards visited the Regatta Point visitor information centre to collect a flyer, before moving on in search of some miniature plants at the National Bonsai and Penjing collection. Not to give too much more away about the questions - and the hidden treasures of Canberra, suffice to say that the TriHards discovered that there is a dead centre of Civic, which may have been a very bad omen, or at least a jinx, because shortly after that the battery in the Immoral Support Crew’s bike died. The Immoral Support Crew’s very heavy bike, which was now on it’s way up the hill to the Australian War Memorial!
Fortunately, it was all downhill from there and no in time at all the TriHards discovered that the tourism people at Blundell’s Cottage are incredibly helpful and, perhaps most importantly, that there is a little coffee van near the Carillion! Suitably recharged, they crossed the lake once more and grabbed a few more checkpoints on their way back to the HQ.
The TriHards arrived with their heads bursting with knowledge (and a paper full of answers in their neatest handwriting possible!) Then it was time to unscramble suburb names to try to get the most bonus points, before handing in the form. Junior arrived shortly thereafter, having successfully visited each and every checkpoint - the only rider on the day to do so! Then it was time to put the bikes away, and sit down for the presentation which, like the rest of the event was full of fun and frivolity.
All in all, it was a great day; with clear skies, and slight wind the weather was perfect; the race itself wasn’t too serious, so the TriHards could do what they do best - get out and have some fun! Many thanks go out to the fantastic crew from Cycle Education, for putting together a great course with a fantastic atmosphere.