It may seem counter-intuitive, but Victoria does not actually have the most cyclists per capita in Australia. That award goes, according to the 2013 Australian Cycling Participation survey, to the Northern Territory, which has the highest percentage of regular cyclists in both metropolitan and regional areas. The NT is followed closely by the ACT, with its novel footpath-riding laws and network of bike paths. Canberra could not, however, be considered Australia’s most “bike-friendly” city. From my own personal survey (though I have never been cycling in Darwin), I can claim that Melbourne is the city where you are least likely to have a bottle, a handful of fast food wrappers, or abuse hurled at you. It might be said that Melbourne’s attitude to cycling is more passionate than it is widespread and if, like me, you form part of the immense cross-section of people who both love cycling and love contemporary music, then you are thinking about how to get your bike to the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music on Friday.
If you hadn’t thought about the ease of coasting between venues on your own two-wheeled steed, then there is another reason to do so. BIFEM will be hosting a performance of Mauricio Kagel’s work for 111 bicycles, Eine Brise.The “Transient Action” requires the riders to form a single, noisy peloton and careen through the streets performing pre-established sequences of sounds including ringing bells, whistling and so on. Unfortunately the organisers are a little short of the desired number, though the performance can still go ahead with reduced forces.
If you’d like to participate, sign up here. The only commitment required from you is to attend a rehearsal at 1pm on Sunday at the Tom Flood velodrome (which will be very close to the action on your bike). This is one hour before the performance wreaks its ecstatic havoc upon the city of Bendigo.
Now, to the problem of getting your beloved bicycle to Bendigo. The good news is that bikes can travel free on VLine trains from Melbourne. The bad news is that the trains running to Bendigo have limited space for bikes and there could be a glut of Brisers on Friday morning. I would therefore like to ask anybody driving to Bendigo with spare room on their bike rack or ute (you’re taking your ute to BIFEM, right?) to please offer that space to cyclists, perhaps in the comments below, who might otherwise not be able to participate.
I hope to see and hear you in the Eine Brise peloton!