Aiming to encourage and promote bike riding for both leisure and transport, the City of Port Phillip council is organising a number of bike riding activities, many of which are free. I was lucky enough to be invited on a tour of the famous fine foods of Port Phillip, so took the opportunity to dust off my bike, pump up the tyres and grease the chain so by 9 o'clock on a sunny Saturday morning I was raring to go.
We were lucky that it was, in fact, sunny as we had been told we would ride regardless of the weather. I think if it had rained it might have dampened everyone's spirits and the tour might not have been so enjoyable. As it was, everyone was in bright and buubly as we met in Ripponlea and took a brief look down Glen Eira Road at some of the more interesting food stores and restaurants. We even got a tour of a local bakery and the huge old oven they use. Tour guide Meyer Eidelson (well known historian, author and guide of many walking tours), gave the in-depth history only one with a history in the area themselves could give, a fully informed description of not only the places, but the people that make the area what it is.
It wasn't all bakeries and cafés, though I wouldn't complain if it was, with a couple of stops at some of Port Phillip's community gardens and at the Eco Centre emphasising the message of sustainable living. After this we headed to the Gasworks farmers market where we were treated to a brief history of the Gasworks before being let loose on the market. Held on the third Saturday of every month, the Gasworks market is an excellent place to get wonderfully fresh organic produce.
The final stop was at the South Melbourne Market where we were informed of the better stalls and were free once again to purchase more fresh fruit and veg. From here we had the choice of going our own way or following the guide back to Ripponlea.
Personally, I think this is a great initiative by the Port Phillip council. I don't want to preach about the benefits of riding over driving, but the list is a long one: less pollution, less congestion and better health to name a few. The tours are on weekends and they cater for all levels of riding experience so there is no excuse not to head along. Bookings are essential so be sure to register your interest as soon as possible.