Perth vs. Leeds

For anyone who doesn’t know I am currently in Perth! For anyone who does know me, the fact I managed to get myself through two airports, security, check-in, passport controls and find my gate etc. is a small miracle. But, I did it, despite the fact my luggage allowance was only 30kg, including my bike, which left me with about 14kg of luggage for a two and a half month trip, I get 15kg when I go on a two week trip to France!!! I’ve been here just over a month now so thought I’d give a bit of a comparison blog- riding a bike in Perth Vs. Leeds.

 

The Roads

OK, so a lot of this blog is going to be bias, as much as I’m enjoying my time here, I am a Yorkshire lass and that’s where my priorities lie. Having said that there is no competition between the roads of Perth and the roads of Leeds, I think since I’ve been here I may have spotted maximum of three potholes and just about every road has a bike lane running alongside it, there’s even a bike path along the freeway which takes you all the way into the city, bit better than trying to fight through the traffic on the dual carriageways into Leeds.

 

The Cafe Stops

This is a tough one, the coffee here is good, a lot better than most the cafes at home. Although you can’t by flapjack at cafe stops here, I’ve been opting for Anzac biscuits instead. Also its pretty expensive out here for a cafe stop. With the weather how it is I don’t appreciate the cafe stops as much as if I was at home, some days when its freezing and you can’t feel your hands or toes anymore all you want to do is go into a nice warm cafe and have a hot chocolate or a coffee, here where the weather is so good I’m happy to just carry on home. But the coffee is good.

 

The Weather

This brings me on to my next point, the weather. Again there is pretty much no competition. The weather is nice, not much need for the leg warmers, arm warmers, rain cape, thermal jacket and face buff I brought with me. Thinking about it now I don’t really know why I packed a thermal jacket. Almost guaranteed sun when you go out in the morning just gives you such good motivation for the ride ahead. Although, I feel like I’ve gone soft since I’ve been here. I actually feel myself dreading going back to Yorkshire weather. And of course, riding daily in the rain makes you appreciate a sunny day so much more. It has been great though being in such good weather and I’m feeling more than a little smug when I look at the forecast for Leeds compared with the one for Perth.

Yorkshire - by Paul Calver

The Views

The views are tricky because I guess it comes down to personal preference. Personally, I really love riding along the coast because I never get to do it at home. As anyone who watched the TDF around Leeds this year will know, we have some spectacular views, this is all dependent on the weather though, me and my friend went on a ride in September and climbed for about two hours in the rain to look out on a view of fog. Not as much threat of that here.

 

The Wildlife

The wildlife is probably the biggest difference between riding in Leeds and Perth for me. At home spiders really don’t bother me, if I see a spider in the house I’ll try and move it outside without killing it, makes me feel like I’ve done a good deed. Since I’ve been here I’ve been ridiculously on edge about the spiders, some of them are poisonous, the thought of being bitten by a spider just doesn’t appeal to me, to the point where when I am washing my bike I scout every spider web in the vicinity and then about every five seconds do a 360 degree turn, to make sure the spiders are still on these webs and not on me. On rides spiders aren’t the biggest worry, what bothers me more is snakes, I’ve only come across one since I’ve been here but I had no idea, I thought it was a twig! It was laid pretty much the width of the bike path so not much room to go past it and the guy I was with actually rode over it. After that I thought every twig I saw was a snake. Magpies are the only animal I’ve actually been ‘attacked’ by since I’ve been here. Australian magpies are not the same as English ones and if you ride past a magpie with a nest they swoop at you and they are pretty relentless. Other animals I’ve seen on rides since I’ve been here include kangaroos, turtles, lizards and parrots, a bit of a change from the odd sheep or dead squirrel you see out in Yorkshire.

 

So these are a few things I’ve observed so far. Although I’m not too keen on leaving Perth on the 30th I am excited for the up and coming training camp to Limoux. I love Limoux, such a great place to train and I’m looking forward to meeting my new teammates and catching up with my old ones!

 

Mel Lowther - by Paul Calver