My new found hobby of cycling is taking hold, and I find myself looking forward to that moment, usually on a weekend, when I can squash my hair into an unattractive helmet, and plonk my disturbingly large behind onto the disappointingly unpadded saddle. With the wind in my eyes and chilling my neck nicely, I can sally forth and bother the local traffic. We can even fit the bikes into the back of our little car – if we take the front wheels off – and go further afield.
This weekend we took ourselves off to another bit of Brisbane Water on the Central Coast; the area around Empire Bay. Oddly enough, one of the things I have learnt about cycling is that a road that looks nice and flat in a car, magically becomes less so when on a bike. Not only does it become inexplicably hillier, but rocks, boulders, broken glass and a huge variety of car-distributed detritus appears as well, strewn in the side of the road like so much bicycle accident waiting to happen. One look at the hills around Empire Bay made me realise I was going to be doing a lot of walking and pushing and not much riding, so we took a detour down the steep ramped street leading to St Hubert’s Island instead.
It is an island, despite being linked by a pretty un-islandy road to Empire Bay, and suffers a bit from that ‘we’re an island’ air about it. Bit up itself. The houses are larger, more ostentatious, than the ones just 100 meters away on the ‘mainland’, and crowd around the outer ring of the island, each McMansion huddled about it’s own mooring and pier.
Public access to the water is limited to a couple of points, and we stopped at one to rest under the shade of a lovely paperbark tree:
It’s quite a view over the water towards Blackwall and Woy Woy, and there were plenty out to admire it – not only boats but jet skis, canoeists and a couple of paddle boarders:
Despite being probably the smartest suburb in the area – certainly house price wise – there’s something a bit unlovely about St Hubert’s to my mind. It tends to the soulless. There’s nothing there but houses; big houses with neat as a pin front lawns and triple garages. No newsagent, no corner shop, nowhere to get a coffee or a paper, no community focus. Or, as was on our minds, anywhere to get a bacon roll. Which would be way too pedestrian for them anyway, I suspect. Oh; there is a Raine and Horne branch office, perhaps proving that the buying and selling of real estate is of paramount importance. If you didn’t live there, there would be no reason to go. Of course you can happily say that about a lot of suburbs; why am I hung up on this one? Maybe it’s all the display, it’s all about the show. The closer to the premium circle they get, the more they face outwards to the water, the grander the properties get; and it seems shallow somehow. That outward appearances are all there is here. Well, anyway, it sure as hell was flatter than the route we had originally planned so it was a pleasant enough diversion, cycling wise. We found nothing else to make us linger, so about faced and headed back again. That steep road down to the island was a bugger to cycle back up but I did it, after gritting my teeth and ignoring my screaming muscles. Did have to lean heavily on my bike, gasping like a landed fish for 5 minutes afterwards, mind.
After all that damn exercise a big pile of local sweet oranges was just the ticket:
And a bacon roll, obviously.