As much as I love traveling with Brisbane’s ferry City Cat…I can’t deny that for my taste it always takes too long to get from A to B. Buses are unreliable, the net of bus stations is not very dense and the way to Milton’s train station takes 10 minutes. By bike I could already be in the city centre in the same time. For long distances TransLink charges are reasonable prices but if you like to hop on a bus for only 2-3 stops, 3 dollars in the peak-time are too much. The next Woolworth and the Toowoong Shopping Centre are 1,6 km and more than 4 km far away. I felt a bit stuck and inflexible. I started searching on gumtree… – the universal platform to find everything in Australia: cars, furniture, flats and probably even gum trees. 🙂 Within five minutes I had preselected 3 bikes which were cheap, in good condition and rather pretty. I fell in love with a silver-green Triax mountain bike. I called the seller, an Asian guy called Joe. He offered to come around with his car to let me test ride the bike I desired and another one in a similar price range. I had not thought about such an immediate delivery and told him that I had not enough money at home. No problem…he would drive me to the next ATM (an ATM is an automated teller machine, the big box which supplies you with money if you have a bank card, sufficient reserves and the right pin code). It was a rainy day and I didn’t want to leave the house if not necessary so I agreed to that kindly offered service and we scheduled an appointment half an hour later. James thought that a nearly new bike for 160 $ or 190 $ including a helmet, front and back light as well as a lock was suspicious. It could be a stolen bike. When Joe arrived with his girlfriend on the co-driver’s seat, I confronted him with this possibility and asked him if I could get a receipt. He explained that he is a student at the Queensland University studying mechanics and that he had worked at a bike shop earlier. Instead of washing dishes in a restaurant to earn a bit of money he buys bicycles in boxes from a whole seller. He assembles the bikes by himself and makes profit by selling them more expensive. His story made sense and my intuition said that he was a trustworthy guy. Of course I knew that I couldn’t expect a high quality racing machine but I was convinced the bike was worth the money. Joe handed me the helmet over and my test ride started on the wrong side of the street. I had forgotten about the bloody left traffic in Australia! As pedestrian I am already used to it but not as bicyclist. Luckily only in the morning Isaac Street is buzzing and no car came towards me. I cycled the street uphill, downhill and repeated the procedure with the second bike. The green-silver bike felt more comfortable and connatural to my bike I had in Berlin. I stored it on the veranda and Joe gave me a ride to the ATM of the ANZ Bank (I cannot understand that Australians pronounce every letter of that name: A-EN-ZED bank. Normally they shorten everything: Brisbane is Brissie, Indooroopilly becomes Indoorpilly, Coronation Drive = Coro Drive and so on. I don’t mind – in my world I have an Australian bank account at the “Ants Bank”. It is easier to pronounce and the association to many tiny busy working animals is a positive image, too). We had a short chitchat and it turned out that his parents originate from China but he is a permanent resident of Brisbane with full citizenship since many years. He has a lot of German friends told me how useful my language is in Australia with so many Germans around. I gave him the money and got a “receipt”. A handwritten 3-line notice on a small paper, barely readable, which says that he, Joe, received 190 $ from me for a bike, helmet, etc. Obviously this wasn’t a proper receipt but the fact that he had shown willingness to write a receipt was enough for me. He offered me to buy the bike back for about 100-110 $ if I should leave the country in some months and the bike was still in good condition. What a advantageous option if I don’t want to have trouble advertising the bike, making appointments with and hard negotiating customers.
After one week I can joyfully announce that I love my bike. The gears have to be readjusted anywhen because I can’t use every of them and if I am not careful enough the chain comes off. Very annoying if you are cycling uphill! A sticker on the frame warns that this bike is not for off-road use or stunting…strange notice for a mountain bike with front suspension fork but I will obey to that! Apart from that – everything’s fine and the saddle is the best I ever had, not causing pain in my butt cheeks already after 15 minutes like I was used to have.
Some seconds ago I found some articles on the internet which state that Triax is a brand of Dynacraft . Some say they produce bike-shaped objects…a nice way to express that they sell junk! Doesn’t matter…so far I am happy with my buy…will keep you informed if this changes! 🙂
Just found a piece of paper on our front veranda from the Queensland Police Service which offers free crime prevention information and bicycle engraving next week near the Suncorp Stadium…less than 400 m from home. – Will go for that!