This Australian city is an ideal place for biking. You can even discover the cousins of camels!
I’VE said before and I’ll say it again. If I lived in Perth, Australia, I would cycle every day, and even to work.
But that’s only because it’s such a cyclist- friendly place.
There are many cycling paths not only in downtown areas, but also in the surrounding suburbs.
Folding bikes are allowed at all times on trains as long as they’re folded up and bagged. Even full- sized bicycles are allowed on the train ( except during peak hours on certain city routes).
Cyclists who don’t want to bring their bikes on board the trains can park their bikes at the station ( there are secure storage facilities there) and then commute the rest of the way.
All in all, it’s very convenient to cycle in Perth, whether it’s to commute to work, or for sports and recreation.
Despite the sunshine and clear blue skies, the weather was cool while my husband and I were there ( it was autumn) and this made it possible to cycle for hours and hours without getting tired or even perspiring.
We stayed at a friend’s place in the suburbs. They had bikes which they hardly used and they were kind enough to lend them to us during our stay there.
Except for the days when my husband was working, we went cycling almost every day even if it was to the nearby grocery store, restaurant or park.
On our first day there, we pumped up the tyres and put on our helmets – it’s required by law to wear a helmet when cycling in Perth.
We decided to explore the surrounding residential area. We cycled through street after street, passing rows of charming houses with well- tended gardens. Unlike in Malaysia, the houses here did not have fences.
The streets all seemed tidily perpendicular or parallel to one another, making it fairly easy to find our way about without getting lost.
And even though it was sunny, the air was chilly as we whizzed by and I was thankful for my warm clothing and leg warmers.
There were hardly any cars or other vehicles around. There were also very few people around until we came to a field where we saw some kids playing football.
We took a break and watched until it was almost dusk. Then we turned on the bike lights and proceeded on our way back.
We passed by some shops and stopped to buy some food supplies. I’m really not sure how we managed to get all those groceries back to the house on the bicycles ( which had no baskets), but by some miracle, we managed to!
The next day, we got more adven-
turous and ventured further. We cycled past the field where the kids were playing football yesterday.
As we pedalled along, we noticed that the buildings grew more sparse and the vegetation became wilder. We realised we were heading into the countryside.
Deciding to explore a bit further, we turned off from the main road. The grey tarmac of a side road stretched out endlessly in front of us. There was not a single car in sight. Large rambling houses with huge compounds interspersed with empty land stretched out on either side of us. We were riding to nowhere!
The air grew even chillier and it looked like it was going to rain. We had not brought along raincoats as we had not expected to cycle so far, but once we started, it was difficult to stop.
Glancing at my hardy watch, I was shocked to discover that we had been cycling for more than an hour though it felt like just a few minutes. We decided to head back home. Just as we were nearing the house, it started drizzling.
We were really excited about the day’s cycling expedition. It was like discovering a gold mine of unexplored cycling trails in the countryside! We decided to explore further tomorrow.
Horses and alpacas
The next day, dressing even more warmly, we set off earlier so that we would have more time before it got dark. We rode along until we were deeper into the countryside and then turned off at a different road than yesterday.
As our sturdy bike tyres pounded the grey tarmac in front of us, rolling farmhouses in huge fenced up compounds stretched out on both sides.
We saw signboards warning of kangaroo crossings and hoped to see some wildlife. We didn’t, but we hit the jackpot when we got to see farm animals!
We noticed a ranch and paused to take a closer look at the horses. They were friendly and nuzzled against us as we tried to pet them.
Then, as we cycled past an enclosure, cute creatures, the size of a sheep or goat and with thick luxurious fleece and huge round eyes, suddenly perked up and stared at us curiously.
We stopped and stared back. They were alpacas, distant cousins of the camels.
They were rather gentle and timid, and did not venture close to the fence like the horses did.
They just kept staring at us from a safe distance within their compound, so we couldn’t pet them. Ooh- ing and aah- ing in glee at our find, we took some photos of them.
Some farm dogs even paused from their daily activities to stop and stare ( and bark) at us.
Fortunately, they were confined within their compounds and we did not have to try to outrun them!
My husband looked at his watch. We had been cycling for three hours and the sun was setting. Even though we still had lots of energy, we decided to head on back before it got dark.
To me, cycling means seeing the sights and discovering new things, and it had been a fruitful expedition.
the writer went cycling almost every day while in Perth.
the writer paused for a rest at a nearby field where some kids were playing football.
Grey tarmac stretched out endlessly after a turn- off into the countryside.
One of the perks of cycling in the countryside near Perth is discovering native bush plants like this one.
1 Perth is a cyclistfriendly city, as this mural suggests.
3 If cyclists want to take the train, they can park their bikes at secure areas at the station.
5 Adorable alpacas seen at a farm in the Perth countryside.
2 Full- sized bikes like this are allowed on trains ( except during peak hours).
4 the writer hit the jackpot when she came across this charming fellow on a ranch.