Gunner headed west on the Queen's birthday long weekend to initiate the Perth chapter of the smokkelaars organisation. Recognising the perils of 'association' as legislated by messrs Rann & Atkinson it is good policy to seek franchises beyond SA's borders to protect the smokkelaars brand.
Based in Fremantle (described as Port Adelaide with paint but immeasurably more interesting and cosmopolitan), gunner took the opportunity to check out the city's cycling credentials.
Starting at Scarborough, under the caring tutelage of Chris & Steve, and cruising along the coast through Cottesloe to the fringe of Fremantle on a still, clear Sunday morning was reminscent of a Semaphore/Largs, Middleton cross. Residential yet rural as the natural coastal dunes run expansively between the shoreline and any hint of construction.
Nip in left to the Canning River and the sun glistens blindingly across the rippling waterway. An armada of yachts stand sentinel to the wealth of this town as we follow the dedicated bike path through the jewel suburbs of Perth - including Nedlands, Dalkeith & Crawley as we wend our way toward the city.
The pace is on as the terrain is flat and Steve has the legs and lungs to lead the way. Chris is showing good form and rides with the confidence of knowing that there will be no Greenhill Road (and beyond) madness as inflicted upon him by Thunda on a recent SA visit.
Perth is a contant procession of open space and sporting grounds. Massive football ovals complemented by lawn tennis clubs. This place is lawn tennis heaven!
We swing past the city onto Mounts Bay Road, which once again hugs the river and takes us past the Old Swan Brewery on one side and Kings Park on the other. The 3km sprint is on to the coffee stop at Matilda Bay as Chris and I try unsuccesfully to hang on to the tail of Steve who's pulling 45kph and ripping the big gears.
With the University of WA behind us, the silver river before us and the skyline of the city further afield we take in a fine hit of caffeine and do the small talk.
Soon enough we're on our way for the final leg of the ride which includes a surpising coffee stop at the Bathesda Hospital affording spectacular views over Freshwater Bay (once again littered with yachts) in the fore and Mosman Bay in the distance, which neatly hems the silken suburb of Peppermint Grove.
Enough ogling; we're on our way through Claremont and past the home of the Claremont Tigers and back towards the coast before a short climb and eventually to Scarborough.
For gunner this has been the most beautiful flat run he has experienced. The views are draw-droppingly beautiful and the winter sun packs a nice punch in this neck of the woods.
Many thanks to Chris and Steve for sharing this town with me. Steve, the Giant went a treat and Chris the lingering lunch with Jacqui, Pru, Charlotte and you capped a great day.