Written by David Sharpe, September 2004
Photo: YarraBUG “Beating the bounds” ride Feburary 12 1995
Before the formation of the City of Yarra in 1994, there was a MelBUG in the period when the City of Melbourne included North Carlton. Jenny McInnes of Bicycle Victoria was the Convenor. Two notable achievements due to MelBUG research and lobbying were the contra-flow bike lane in Princes Park Drive, and the bike lanes in Royal Parade. BrunsBUG joined in the latter to get traffic lights at Park Street to link up with the bike path which follows the Upfield railway line.
North Carlton then became part of the newly formed City of Yarra. The forward thinking Council appointed a Bicycle Coordinator, Veronica Goluza. Bicycle Victoria promoted the formation of YarraBUG which began regular monthly meetings about early 1995.
Meetings alternated between Bakers Cafe, 384 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy and Time Brasserie, 256 Bridge Road, Richmond. Stanley Barker was the Secretary and Veronica attended most of our meetings.
One of our first was “beating the bounds” of the new City of Yarra on 12 February 1995, attended by 15 riders. There were “mystery” tours and “moonlight” winter riders.
Some members of those days are still in YarraBUG, namely: Roger Peterson, Paul Prentice, Carol Skinner and David Sharpe. For a while Constable Steve Bone, one of Melbourne’s bicycle mounted police,came to our meetings.
On October 1995 the Gardiner’s Creek Bridge was officially opened to fill the gap in the Yarra Bike Path. YarraBUG supplied some of the cyclists to be first over the bridge for the cameras.
In 1995, after input from YarraBUG, Veronica caused the City of Yarra to produce a Bike Map headed “Going Somewhere” and on the reverse “Doing Something”. BUG members attended the launch of the map on 28 March at the Fairfield Boat House.
YarraBUG made a successful application in 2001 to the City of Yarra for a Community Grant of $1000 to produce a brochere “Vanquishing the Vehicles from Brunswick Street”.
These brochures were handled out to pedestrians and diners up and down Brunswick Street urging them to walk, take public transport or ride a bike when visiting the street.
During 1992 we hosted a number of “Easy Bike Rides” to help newcomers gain confidence. One 84 year old lady, Kathleen Buchanan, eventually went on the BV Great Tasmanian Bike Ride. Without becoming incorporated and taking out public liability insurance, YarraBUG feels constrained about organising more than the odd friendly ride together. However our lobbying is uninhibited and as councils go, the City of Yarra is very bicycle friendly.
Unfortunately Veronica’s dedicated position was dissolved and our lobbying of council was divided between three council officers. Getting a better deal for cyclists and improving road conditions has always been a big part of YarraBUG ‘s raison d’etre.
In more recent times the City of Yarra formed a Bicycle Advisory Committee whose meetings several YarraBUG members attend. We have always kept in touch with Bicycle Victoria and neighbouring BUG’s, especially DarebinBUG.
David Sharpe passed away in 2007. He was a founding Yarra BUG member, enthusiastic supporter, ride organiser and very kindly allowed the BUG to use his PO Box as our mailing address for several years.
He was a very active member of the Yarra community and attended BUG meetings up until last year. David wrote the BUG’s history and supplied the photo on this page. (see below) David is standing on the left in this photo.
Vale David, your kindness, advice and wise counsel will be sadly missed.