bikes books

The second city

When I came up with the name for this blog, I was anticipating spending a lot more time in Brisbane as well as Sydney. I love Brizvegas – so many great bars and buildings and back alleys, book-marking memories from boozy uni days – so it’s been sad that I haven’t spent any time there since my summer holidays. Particularly since Brisbane is also home to my second bike, Baby Blue, a powder blue confection of restored treadly prettiness.

It’s a city that’s really well set up for bikes. That track curving around the river is fantastic; at certain times of day when the tide is up, water laps right up to the path… at other times you get that fertile, foetid mangrove mud smell. One of my last nights there I rode with a friend right around to New Farm Park, and the lights reflecting off Story Bridge were spectacular.

To me Brisbane is all about swimming pools, condensation on your beer glass (pots, not schooners), nights of red wine and chain-smoking on balconies, bodies steaming with dancing at the Zoo, hippies at the West End markets, lawn bowls at Merthyr and 3am Bizarre Love Triangle dance-offs upstairs at Ric’s. I don’t think you can do that last one anymore though 😦

I love the Brisbane of John Birmingham’s books – his seedy sprawling sharehouses and heat-addled cast of unhinged gonzo characters. When I moved to Brisbane to start uni, I expected my life to turn into another chapter of He Died With A Felafel In His Hand – a dog-eared copy of which I’d pored over as we ground out the last days of our boarding school sentence in Toowoomba. Of course, times had changed, but when I eventually went to a Red Hill party where someone busted out a bucket bong I was like FINALLY! Getting to meet JB has been one of the best perks of my job.

Anyway! Finally making a flying visit back up to Vegas this weekend, to share some anti-Valentines Day beers with a bunch of great mates. Will take Baby Blue out for a spin (she’s now in my baby sister’s custody), do some organic brunch and second-hand-book-shopping in West End, and as many fun Brisbane things as I can fit into two days. So hopefully next week I’ll have lots of great photos from the trails of the second city. Viva Brizvegas!

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