Cycling in Sydney

There is an interesting piece in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning describing the frustration of cycling around Sydney. I haven’t cycled every where that they describe but it does capture quite accurately my experiences around the city. Half assed cycle lanes with bad approaches. In many cases it is little more than painting a white line the the centre of a pedestrian footpath. It is usually on the outside which unsurprisingly the same place people leave their bins on collection day. Sydney is not an enjoyable city to cycle.

Australian Urban Archaeology – Google Earth Style

I found an interesting toy on the internet a few days ago. The NSW government has released a maps viewer, called Spatial Information eXchange, that looks for all the world like a google earth knock off. They boast that the resolution of the images are better than those used by google earth. While nominally set up to help emergency services and government departments the tool has one trick that google earth/maps doesn’t, satellite imaging from 1943.

The service has been up for a few days but it looks like the server couldn’t handle the initial load. However I was finally able to get consistent service again to produce some present versus past imaging. As some one who didn’t grow up in Australia but live here now it has been very interesting to examine the places I know know as see what they used to look like.

The picture below is an over head of the area around circular quay. The site now occupied by the Sydney Opera House used to be Fort Macquarie tram depot on Bennelog point. The Cahill expressway has yet to be build and join up with the Harbour Bridge.

Also over on the left side of the image is the area known as the hungry mile which has been filled in since 1943 but was recently shut down as an operational port to make way for residential buildings and be renamed “Barangaroo”. Ten years from now it will probably look very different again.

These images are above the area known as Darling harbour. It is currently the location of convention centres, eateries and an IMAX cinema, however it used to be a big shipping yard. It was completely rebuild in the 80s. You can also see the addition of all the elevated roads that carry traffic in and out of the city from the west.

If you know Sydney, or NSW it is definitely worth a look.

I love living in Bondi – now with even more bikinis!

Sydney Bondi
Originally uploaded by duncanleyburn

I live pretty close to Bondi Beach. Any morning that I cycle into work I usually take a leisurely cycle down the promenade. A week doesn’t go by when there is some thing mad going on. Yesterday morning I was treated to the Guinness record attempt at the largest bikini shoot.

It is still a bit early in the year for the beach but it was quite a sight seeing hundreds of girls running around in their bikinis. Credit goes to who ever arranged this, I know how long it takes to get one girl ready, can you imagine how hard it is to co-ordinate and get 1100 of them ready? There was an extra level of High Maintenance in the air on Bondi Beach and fake tan. However it certainly beats getting up on an September morning in Dublin and putting on your wets to cycle to work.

Check out the aquabumps web site for a few more up close and personal pictures.

Dog renting in Sydney

I suppose it was only a matter of time before dog renting came to Sydney. An American company Flexpetz wants to start pet renting

In the US, members pay US$24.95 ($29) to hire a dog on weekdays and US$39.95 on weekends. Membership fees include an annual fee of $US99.95 and monthly fees of $US49.95.

Those foolish enough to sign up for this service probably deserve to be ripped off. However owning a dog in an apartment in Sydney is not a viable option in a lot of cases. There is an alternative for dogless Sydney-siders.

Doggie Rescue is a registered NO-Kill animal rescue charity, but receives no government funding. It is committed to rescuing neglected, abused and abandoned dogs from the death rows of Sydney pounds and finding them loving homes.

They also require people to help out with the dogs that they have in their care. This includes people to take out and walk the dogs they have. Listed on their website are the volunteer options :

“Pop in to Ingleside from 10am – 4pm Tuesday to Sunday, Drummoyne from 10am – 4pm Saturday to Sunday, or PetBarn at Alexandria on Saturdays only from 10am.”

A company like Flexpetz shouldn’t even be given the option to start a viable business when there is a free service available that will not only make you feel better but help out as well. If you live in Sydney and know of any body interested in dog walking pass on the details.

Road Rage in Australia

Road Rage. Montevideo, Uruguay
Originally uploaded by willposh.

The SMH has a very interesting article on road rage in Australia :

Road rage rules in Australia

I have been living in Sydney for nearly 5 years now. I grew up in Ireland and lived (and drove) in America for 2 years. I don’t know what happened or is happing in Sydney but the inconsiderate driving that I see every day either driving or cycling to work always blows my mind. Cars driving behind other cars at 60-80 KPH with mere inches separating them. Selfish driver racing up the inside of a merging lane and then barging in.

The biggest thing I missed is the death of the in car wave there used to be a time that if you oblige some one, let them out from an intersection when traffic was busy, you’d get the one handed wave, not any more.

I briefly thought that it might just the way western society in general is going, consumerism is making people more and more selfish. However on a recent trip home to Ireland I was surprised to see that the in car wave and a more general air of courtesy was there. This especially surprised me in Dublin which has traffic much more chronic than Sydney, current cross town driving speeds are slower than walking. I would love to know what it is about Sydney or Australia that has made driving like this but I guess it is something I’ll just have to endure.