There is a growing diversity of bikes being ridden in Newcastle now and this was really evident at the launch of Bikefest the other day. I really believe that to have a lively bicycle culture, there needs to be interest in a range of bikes for a range of needs, and that road racing, commuting, vintage restoration, hipsterism and off-road biking in its various forms all contribute to that culture.
I was first inspired to get on a bike for transport by the sight of a woman on a hybrid or mountain bike with a milk crate on the back, riding with her dress and high heeled sandals at Merewether baths. Prior to that, I had ridden my racing bike to work and found it was uncomfortable and I felt that the skinny tyres were not best suited to the riding I was doing – ie across paddocks at times and along potholed streets. I wanted something more comfortable, that I could easily carry things on without wearing a backpack, where I could be more upright and wear a skirt if I wanted to. I got a Giant ladies cypress to fill that requirement as there was not a lot of choice in that area of biking at that time.Now, however, some of our local bike shops are starting to carry both vintage bikes and interesting Dutch bikes, including bakfiets, which you would have to order from interstate before.Beach cruisers are also becoming popular and are perfect for the beachy lifestyle around here.