Jan Gehl in Melbourne on People, Places and Liveable Cities

Jan Gehl believes ‘A good city is like a good party. People stay longer than really necessary because they are enjoying themselves.’

The hugely influential urbanist, architect and humanist was in Melbourne and I was lucky enough to be in the audience.

I am so engaged by his talk that I don’t bother trying to update social media with any of his insights. So here’s a selection of #melbconvo #jangehl tweets from the night to give you a flavour of his stories of a life of making our cities happier and more liveable.

People once said cycling couldn’t take off in Copenhagen. Then they decided to plan to make it happen. #melbconvo
“Modernism killed the people scale” #melbconvo#jangehl

Cycling in Melbourne when you’re a woman

Cyclestyle cargobike

Today the age ran an article entitled ‘Cycling is still a mostly male affair in Melbourne‘.

As a female cyclist in Melbourne, I’m hardly surprised.

The article points out that the average Melbourne cyclist – male, aged 36-45 – rides 5-10km for commuting or transport. They are comfortable riding with general traffic on the roads.

The biggest problem with cycling in Melbourne when you’re a woman is that the city’s network of bike paths don’t connect to each other and don’t go to the places that as a general rule, women need to go.

Women, if they are parents, are often the primary caregiver. That means that the most often used route is to and from school, kindergarten, daycare. In my case, my bike route involves crossing two major roads (both truck routes) and in some cases it means mounting the pavement to avoid the traffic.

Women in general still take on the bulk of the house duties. That means I need a convenient route to the local shops and services and a place to park my bike at the other end. The safety of the route is even more paramount as I often have my children tagging along to these shops and services.

I am not riding 5-10km a day. The maximum radius of most of my day to day life is about 3-4km. It’s a distance that’s too short for driving (plus the hassle of finding somewhere to park) but too long to walk if I have young children or groceries to carry.

A bike is the perfect solution, if only I didn’t have to mix with heavy traffic and to follow bike lanes that end abruptly and force me to complete my journey on the road.

At the moment, my biggest bugbear is travelling from Footscray onto the dedicated bike path along Dynon Road. The bike path is smooth, off road and sheltered – and hardly anyone uses it because it stops abruptly at the intersection of Kensington Road. To reach Footscray (and the rest of Melbourne’s inner west) there is a footpath and bridge that is like a narrow and uneven obstacle course. You cannot have two bikes easily pass along it, let along a cargo bike. Technically I’m not even supposed to be riding on the pavement as it’s illegal in Victoria.

As such I am forced onto Dynon Road because it is wide and smooth – and also full of trucks going 60km/hr. It is an extremely scary experience with children in the cargo bike and there is no way I’d let them ride alone on the road there. However, it’s the most direct route from the northern end of Footscray into the CBD and as long as I grit my teeth and bear the 1km of terror I can then rest easy on the bike path. I am very confident riding on the roads thanks to years of experience, but I am in the minority.

When you don’t have bike paths that go to where women need to go and bike paths that aren’t built in a safe manner where they’re protected from traffic, women won’t use bikes as their preferred mode of transport. Easy as that.

What are your thoughts on why cycling is still mostly a male affair in Melbourne?

Buon Appetito by Bike #2 with The Squeaky Wheel – Westie Women Food Rides in May

Ovest West Footscray

A very wet day didn’t deter a group of intrepid women joining us for another Westie Women food ride with The Squeaky Wheel.

The second edition of ‘Boun appetito by bike’ visited some slightly different venues to the previous ride as we celebrated everything Italian in the inner west with tour guide Joyce Watts of CycleStyle and MEL: HOT OR NOT.

First stop was Ovest for warming hot chocolates and potato doughnuts with chocolate mousse. Ovest were even kind enough to open up especially for us as they don’t usually trade during Saturday lunch times.

Ovest West Footscray

Second stop was Fox in the Corn for plates of steaming hot pasta. They even have bikes hung up as wall decoration so it’s the perfect stop for a bike tour!

Fox in the Corn Footscray

Last stop was T Cavallaro and Sons for an Italian (or technically Sicilian) sweet. Always a crowd favourite, their cannoli are the best in Melbourne.

T Cavallaro and Sons Footscray

The June rides are now open for bookings! If you’re a woman who lives, works or plays in Melbourne’s inner west join me for a 1.5 hour cycling tour of the best food in the area for only $15 (including tour and tastings).

Westie Women Food Rides are a Maribyrnong City Council Gender Equity Initiative. 

Buon Appetito by Bike with The Squeaky Wheel – Westie Women Food Rides in May

bike tours melbourne

The sun was shining yet again for our latest Westie Women food ride with The Squeaky Wheel.

bike tours melbourne

‘Boun appetito by bike’ celebrated everything Italian in the inner west with tour guide Joyce Watts of CycleStyle and MEL: HOT OR NOT.

bike tours melbourne

In the 1950s Footscray was a centre for Italian migrants. Sixty years later eleven female cyclists joined Joyce to experience how Italian cuisine has been reinterpreted for modern Australians with a three course meal by bike.

bike tours melbourne

First stop Ovest for charcuterie, cheese and breads.

bike tours melbourne

bike tours melbourne

Second stop Honeycomb Hideout for pizza and a group photo!

bike tours melbourne

bike tours melbourne

Last stop dessert at Slice Girls West.

bike tours melbourne

bike tours melbourne

Look out for booking information for the June rides soon!

Westie Women Food Rides are a Maribyrnong City Council Gender Equity Initiative. 

This Week’s Cycle Style Inspiration – 08 May 2016


My life has been going downhill ever since I stopped pedaling on my bicycle. But I suppose that’s a good thing. (Jarod Kintz) @charicyclesemballage_official

You can’t sell anything if you can’t tell anything (Beth Comstock) @emballage_official


Do what you love, you’ll be better at it. (Author Unknown) @fun_papi


Tough situations build strong people. (picturequotes.com) @velosipedization


It’s quite easy to start trials riding. You just need a bike and you’re set. (Sete Gibernau) @foldingbike

This Week’s Cycle Style Inspiration – 01 May 2016


Life is like a bicycle in order to keep your balance you must keep moving. (Albert Einstein) @agirlwandering


You will never know what is on the other side unless you cross the bridge. (Author Unknown) @bambiii38


It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels. (Heinz Stucke) @californian_girl_7


Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. (John F. Kennedy) @carly_amador


Life is like riding a bike. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. (Author Unknown) @kriwiltalens


Creative Kids Bike Parking Design Competition in Maribyrnong

Maribyrnong City Council Bike Parking Design competition

Maribyrnong City Council are inviting Primary and Secondary school students within the municipality to design a work of art that can function as a place to park their bike.

The winning designs will be installed within the City of Maribyrnong plus there are over $1,700 worth of prizes.

There are two major prizes to be won – one for Primary students and one for Secondary students – which consist of:

  • A brand new bike and bike accessory pack from Ted’s Cycles in Footscray and
  • A $250 voucher courtesy of Highpoint Shopping Centre

The Runner up in each category will also win a $250 Highpoint voucher.


Designs will be assessed on originality, aesthetic appeal, functionality as a bike rack and connection to Maribyrnong by a panel of expert judges including:

The competition is open to primary and secondary students (from Prep to Year 12) living or studying within the City of Maribyrnong.

Students may enter online or fill out the official promotional flyer, located at select cafes, shops and libraries around the City and send in by mail or deliver in person to Council.

The competition opened on Tuesday 26 April and runs until 5pm Friday 10 June.

Click here for full Competition Terms & Conditions and Privacy Collection Statement.

Wheelie Good Day North Melbourne – Sunday 1 May 2016

Wheelie Good Day is a community gathering and street party in Melrose Street North Melbourne and it’s on this Sunday 1 May 11am-4pm.

The day is all about educating and training families to ride a bike plus a full with a program of workshops, tours and fun!

We’ll be there with the Book Swap Bike, a Christiania cargo bike filled with secondhand children’s books and a pop up reading lawn. Families are invited to either bring a book to swap, to borrow a book to read together or to participate in colouring-in and/or craft activities.

Other fun activities include:
  • Face painting & bike decorating for KIDS
  • Bike doctors and skills course for KIDS
  • Pimp your bike workshop for TEENS
  • Bike skills course & tours of the local area for ADULTS
  • Long kick and handball competitions with North Melbourne Football Club
  • Knitting, knotting and weaving with a POM POM workshop
  • Hip Hop Street Show by Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance students!
  • Bike Tuneups from GOOD CYCLES
  • Fix a Flat with PONY BIKES
  • Bike Engraving from VIC POLICE
  • Street Mural suggestion workshop
  • Delicious food & coffee from POCKET CAFE
  • ROLL UP Bicycle Valet Parking
  • $1 MAMMOTH ice cream, on a bike
  • BIKE n’ BLEND pedal powered Smoothies

See you there!


Wheelie Good Day

Sunday 1 May 2016 11am-4pm

Melrose Street, between Erskine and Canning Streets, North Melbourne

FREE event

This Week’s Cycle Style Inspiration – 24 April 2016


A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. (Irina Dunn, 1970) @lekkerbikes


Quit waiting for everything to be perfect. You have everything you need right now. (makingthinghappe.com) @lifeintriplets


There are always flowers for those who want to see them. (Henri Matisse) @makethriftldn


But the memories won’t seem to let me go (Author Unknown) @palladifoo


There is beauty in everything just not everybody sees it. (Author Unknown) @yellow_stone


This Week’s Cycle Style Inspiration – 17 April 2016


It’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up. (Colonel George Armstrong Custer) @annywang0612


Be at one with the universe. If you can’t do that, at least be at one with your bike. (Lennard Zinn) @bloominghealthyfancyflealakeland

Leave a little sparkle wherever you go (Author Unknown) @fancyflealakeland


Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments. (Author Unknown) @girlsonbicyclez


The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes. (Mark Nepo) @mpwolfgram

Aster- world’s safest commuter cycling backpack

Aster- world's safest commuter cycling backpack

Aster is a prototype design for a commuting backpack with integrated bike lights, turn signals and automatic brake indication and it’s seeking funding via Indiegogo now. We think it’s pretty amazing!

Aster- world's safest commuter cycling backpack

The designers of Aster claim that they’ve addressed 75% of the causes of bike accidents.

Aster‘s rear and profile lights make you visible to motorists from all sides, front lights signal your presence in rear-view mirrors and automatic brake lights help you avoid getting rear-ended. Integrated turn signals make sure that drivers around you know when you’re making a turn.

Aster- world's safest commuter cycling backpack

Control Aster’s light settings and more with their app (called the Lumos Aster app), available for both Android and iOS platforms. You can adjust your light settings to meet the regulations specific to your state or country. The app allows you to see the battery life remaining, both  in the 4000mAh USB-chargeable battery and the handlebar unit.

Using the Lumos app and the handlebar-unit, you can lock your bike in its place with one tap! If your cycle is moved for more than 5 seconds once locked, an alarm is triggered to attract attention.

Aster also has several commuter-specific compartments – a minimalist helmet holder, a whistle buckle, tuck-away U-lock holder loops, zippered bottle pockets, rain-cover and an ‘In Case of Emergency’ information slot in the event of a crash.

Aster- world's safest commuter cycling backpack

You can pack a 15.6 inch laptop with charger, change of clothes and shoes, smaller gadgets, books, bike-tools and spares, rain-jacket, a 1 litre water bottle and even your lunch!

Aster- world's safest commuter cycling backpack

Aster is also weather-resistant, with a waterproof TPU coated exterior and rain-resistant zippers that cause water to bead up and roll off the surface.

Aster’s Indiegogo campaign ends on 30 April so get in quick to support the production of this innovative product!

This Week’s Cycle Style Inspiration – 10 April 2016


Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it. @picturesque_peach


Find something you are passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it. (Julia Child) @robertpeterphotography


Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. @sarah3lisabethh


Until you cross the brigde of your insecurities, you can’t begin to explore your possibilities. (Tim Fargo) @supertang


And then I realized adventures are the best way to learn. @wakeup_littlesusie

This Week’s Cycle Style Inspiration – 03 April 2016

lazygramerA beautiful life does not just happen it is built daily by prayer, humility, sacrifice and hard work.  @lazygramer


You’re never fully dressed without a smile. @luc1al1nda


Everyone is not your customer.  (Seth Godin) @mitch15675

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. (Eleanor Roosevelt) @musical_yuko


We have three baskets for investing: yes, no and too tough to understand. (Charlie Munger) @sylviassparkles

This Week’s Cycle Style Inspiration – 27 March 2016


Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. @benjaminke


Nobody owns the world. So feel free to explore it. (E.A. Cabaltica) @lickymylips


One of the great joys of traveling through Italy is discovering firsthand that it is, indeed, a dream destination. (Debra Levinson) @outofmyhead


Don’t let people tell you who you are. You tell them. @purple_rain_man


From small beginnings.. Come great things. @stenacht


This Week’s Cycle Style Inspiration – 20 March 2016


Be what you want to be not what others want to see. @if_i_stay.fans


I didn’t change I just found myself. (Goodlifequotes.com) @likeablisterinthesun


A camera is a save button for the mind’s eye. (Rogu Kingston) @nuchzy_8


Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain. @pavliturk


I just wanna go someplace where no one knows my name. @q_bicycles


This Week’s Cycle Style Inspiration – 13 March 2016


Don’t be a woman that needs a man. Be a woman a man needs! @iya_ua

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do. @meezgeena

Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. @modestouniqueboutiques


Look on the bright side. @one_dream_rider

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. (Dr. Seuss) @pixelsandpicas

This Week’s Cycle Style Inspiration – 06 March 2016


Your body is a reflection of your lifestyle. (Motivation-wall) @wildflower.mountain


Little girls make the world sweeter. @uunwidhiaa

Always dress like you’re going to see your worst enemy. (Kimora Lee) @theperfectlocationfaridabad 


Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea. (Ayn Rand) @maggi_e_


Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. (Ralph Waldo Emerson) @sizajasel

Vintage Celebrity Cycling Photo

Ginger Rogers biking in 1957.


This Week’s Cycle Style Inspiration – 28 February 2016

alexandraa.brinzacA girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. (Coco Chanel) @alexandraa.brinzac

damscruzWe choose to be grateful, no matter what. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf) @damscruz


Be a girl with a mind, a woman with attitude, & a lady with class. (I Speak Quote) @girlsonbicyclez


Leave a little sparkle wherever you go. @m666evo


The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. (John Lennon)@maggi_e_

Vintage Celebrity Cycling Photo

Marilyn Monroe in Pacific Coast Antiques Show in 1952.