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BikeFest 2013

A festival to ease newbies off their training wheels and let fanatics go nuts.
By Zac Millner-Cretney
February 19, 2013
By Zac Millner-Cretney
February 19, 2013

Melbourne is a cycling city. The total sum of bikes on the road has been consistently rising for the past five years, and the culture is on the rise: you can't look anywhere these days without seeing a bike nut slogging along on a sleek, fancy fixie.

If you are part of the fast-growing population on two wheels, prepare for BikeFest: a truly Melburnian festival that brings cycling, food and music together. With dozens of events dotted around the city over the next three weeks, you can expect to get a workout, too.

BikeFest is a sprawling umbrella encompassing events of all sorts. Some are on the intimate side of things, such as the bicycle workshops at Coburg boutique bike shop Pedal Cyclery. Restricted to four pupils at a time and run by the friendly and helpful shop owner Chris, they are a chance to get some hands-on experience with basic bike maintenance and repair that will stand you in good stead for any future mishaps.

At the other end of the spectrum are several group activities, many of which begin with a big group ride and end with a slice of Melbourne culture. The Coburg drive-in cinema is overrun by bikes for a night, hordes of Superheroes on cycles take over Nicholson Street, and the Abbotsford Convent's Shadow Electric cinema is hosting a lovely picnic that marries food, cinema, and cycling. A highlight is the Full Moon Ride, a 25km group trek interrupted only by a midnight picnic.

Pushy Women, meanwhile, is a more of a boisterous night out, with a panel of some of Melbourne's foremost female comedians and columnists sharing anecdotes about their long and illustrious cycling careers. Finally, rounding out the festival is Crossy's Gig, a benefit for cyclist James Cross, who was tragically killed in a cardooring incident in 2010. A host of Melbourne bands will play at the event to raise money for the James Cross Memorial Fund, which is aimed at making Melbourne's roads safer for cyclists.

Whether you're a die-hard cyclist or just starting out, there's plenty to send you well on the way to taking off the training wheels at BikeFest.

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