This is the only reason I can think of for the nonsensical ban on cycling in the gardens, and its current reinforcement by heavy-handed policing – Carlton, Treasury, Flagstaff and Fitzroy. Easily spooked and prone to fits of the vapours, I suspect that they may have only recently stopped referring to these naughty two-wheelers as ‘scorchers’ – slang popular in the 1890s to describe and deride cyclists who spooked horses.
Each of these gardens have diagonal paths from corner to corner, out of the traffic, and a calm spot in one’s daily commute. Why wouldn’t they be good places to ride through? The paths are at least 3 metres wide in most places – ample passing room for more than one or two bikes and pedestrians at a time. And talking of horses, that is what these paths were designed around, in imitation of Hyde Park in London and Central Park in New York – passing widths for two riders on fat mares, whilst tipping one’s hat each to the other. Ahh, the good old days, when the hoi polloi knew their place, slaving away in t’mill, and gardens were for the aesthetic appreciation of the moneyed bourgeoisie with money for hacking about on ponies and time on their hands. Nasty upstart cyclists, it’s not the done thing y’know, to frighten the horses. Or the poodles. Good on ya, Popeye Doyle. The last bastion of the good old days (Is it only me finds amusing that the name of the spokesman for the Pedestrian Council of Australia is Harold Scruby? Sounds like a Spike Milligan invention). Who let him back in? Don’t they have an anti-throwback ruling at the AEC? But, the people may yet speak . . .