Saturday, January 13, 2018

Forage abundance

Mobile again.

Last year I was given the news that I would have the opportunity to travel to Geelong to assist with a work conference. I couldn't believe my luck. My family all live in Melbourne, I could spend a couple of days with them  before heading to Geelong.
Whenever I am in Melbourne and don't have the responsibility of managing travel for a family, bicycle is my preferred mode of transport.
Melbourne is a treasure trove of old neighborhoods, lanes and parklands that are really great to explore on a bike. 

$20 bike + $10 backpack (1960s vintage) preparing for commute

As an affirmation of my freedom I always prefer to leave the airport on foot or by bicycle. Several times I have acclimatized to the Melbourne environment by walking from the airport to my sister's place in Kialba, once I tried walking to my parents place but I have to admit my fitness wasn't quite up to scratch and the detours I'd taken added too many foot miles to my trip so I bailed with only a few km to go.

Melb Airport - Fawkner - Watsonia

This time I took an old bike with me and cycled the Western Ring Road, the same path I'd tried walking a couple of years earlier. Riding was infinitely easier and sections which were previously under construction are now open.

After putting the bike together the hardest part of the journey is actually finding a way out of the madness that is the airport carpark and associated roads! While a lot of Melbourne infrastructure is fairly bicycle friendly, the Airport is definitely not!

Although exiting the airport is a bit of tenuous task, once on the ring road the ride becomes much simpler and far more enjoyable.
An example of how cycle paths can be incorporated into existing infrastructure 

Cycling to me is not about sport or fitness, it's just something I do for the sheer joy of it! Basically I get a buzz out of moving in that elusive space between traffic and pedestrian, somewhere in the grey area where registration and insurance don't yet venture, where money does not determine your mobility and alternate routes are the norm!

I love the freedom of being able to explore at a leisurely pace while traveling, virtually free, a journey that would cost me over $50 in a taxi or over $20 on the stupid airport shuttle that would only dump me at a train station where I'd still have to travel back out to where I needed to be.

My favorite part about this ride is the abundance of food that grows along land connected to the ring road. Both wild edible weeds and garden plants that overhang the fences.


Scottish thistle (terrible weed but pretty and edible)

Blackberries are spreading again, yes they  are invasive, if kept trimmed they provide good tucker
Plums overhanging fence

Opportunistic gardens. I have no qualms about taking fruit that overhangs fences but chose not to touch these gardens as they were very well cared for and obviously of higher value to the owner.

There are so many treasures and so much beauty in the smallest of things. If you travel by bicycle, with your eyes and heart open, chances are you will discover treasures that only a cyclist can know.

At this time of year there's a lot of fruit to be found, much of it is still ripening but I was fortunate to find enough ripened fruit to have a reasonable feed. 
By the time I reached my destination I had a belly full of fruit, both wild and domestic! 
Blessed is the life of a Gleaner and a forager.

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