My bicycle ready for transporting the mother of all tents

Christina buys a tent: more experiences in quaxing

I’ve learned two things on the weekend.

  1. A lot can be accomplished in a dress [or, insert any other garment that is generally considered only suitable for looking pretty] and
  2. One must know the the word  “quaxing”.

After my recent post on transporting things on bikes I was keen to share my latest experience with Jillian, who writes on this blog too. Jillian knows everything – especially when it concerns dresses, bikes and social media.  She loved my story, because it contained dresses and bikes and she introduced me to quaxing, which I know now translates “to shop,  in the western world, by means of walking, cycling or public transit”. Apparently I missed the twitter row in 2015 about whether people shop by bike and public transport or not. It’s a shame, because I would have loved to add my two cents worth. As social media has the longevity of a mayfly I’m basically reaching back into the archives and add some more fodder to the topic that is quaxing.

So. Last weekend I decided to buy a tent. Not just any tent. I decided that the humongous six people sleeping Spinifex Huon was EXACTLY what a couple with dog (by dog I really mean “tiny pooch”) needed for a weekend away – the verdict whether this purchase was wise is still out. But: it was on special. How can one resist?

My Saturday started with a semi-work function at part the Perth Writers Festival at the University of Western Australia. If you’re not from Perth: this venue is notorious for expensive, limited parking and best, if not solely, accessible by bus.

Picture crystal blue skies, sizzling summer heat, I’m strutting along in a flattering wrap-dress. On my way to the bus stop after the function I’m thinking, ‘Well, it’s now close to 40 degrees and not even noon yet. Do I want to catch the bus to Innaloo, pick-up the tent and then bus, train and bike the package home to Fremantle? But yes, of course I do. Not only am I half-way there already, it’s also on special. Who knows whether any will be left tomorrow?’

So, off I go and hop on the bus to Innaloo and do what I do best on public transport: relax and listen to music. I arrive at the outdoor shop and ask for the tent. The friendly shop attendant hauls my parcel onto the front counter. It is not just a cute box. It’s THE MOTHER OF A TENT: a 13.7kg bag, which from hereon I will refer to as ‘the mother’. I gulp and reconsider the parameters of my adventure: a big box, a girl in a dress, a bus, a train and a bicycle. I’m thinking, ‘Well, I could leave ‘the mother’ at the shop and come back tomorrow. But I’m already here and it’s on special!” So I pay and haul ‘the mother’ to the bus stop to start my journey home.

The great thing about public transport is, once you’re on it, your work is accomplished. So, I sit, relax and listen to more music. The bus I’m on will go all the way to the Fremantle train station, but if I change on to the train half-way, I’ll save about twenty minutes. It’s basically public transport on special – do you see a pattern here? I’m also considering poochy at home, who is probably longing for me so, of course I swap to the train at Shenton Park.

After a seamless transfer, I marvel at the ocean (another perk of riding the train) and realise, I have actually no idea of how to attach ‘the mother’ to my bicycle. In wise anticipation I packed three straps, but I have no clue how to use them. Vivid childhood memories of teddies and bags resurface that I had tried to transport on my treadlie only to realise they had either disappeared along the journey and worse, flipped off and almost taken me with them. I’m thinking ‘the mother’ is not to be reckoned with, a fluffy toy she aint! If the box moves or tips only slightly there’s no doubt I will come off my bike.

But that’s okay, because the great thing about public transport and smart phones is that I’ve got space and time to research the best approach to my next phase of getting home. I google “How to strap a box on your bike rack”, because everything has already been done and documented. And it has. I find this excellent forum in which ‘freiheit’, a forum user, has taken the time to explain EXACTLY how to do what I’m about to do. Because I’m a visual learner I’m greatly appreciating ‘freiheit’s’ images of how to attach things.

Once I arrive in Fremantle I already know how to handle ‘the mother’. Freiheit recommends having a second person on hand to load the box, but using my kickstand is just fine. I wrap the straps around my rack, place the box on top, fasten the straps, compare my work with freiheit’s images, jiggle the box: it’s tight as!

The extra weight makes the bike a tad sluggish, but the best part about my ride home is that I don’t have to lift ‘the mother’. She’s tightly secured and stays in place just fine. Who would have thought it’s THAT easy to quax in a dress?

Here is a photo of me – ‘the mother’ is lingering behind me, out of sight, but I promise she was there!

Me in pretty dress. 'The mother' is safely tied to the bike behind me.
Me in pretty dress. ‘The mother’ is safely tied to the bike behind me.


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