In homage to the incredible 2018 gay and lesbian Mardi Gras festivities held this week in Australia, this post is about the ways in which bicycles have featured in the Sydney Mardi Gras over the years. Happy strutting and mirror balls all! NG.
Happy 2018 Sydney Mardi Gras on bicycles!
This week was the 40th anniversary of the Sydney gay and lesbian Mardi Gras. I lived in Sydney for 3.5 years and had a wonderful time there. The annual Mardi Gras festival is always a major social and cultural event in my calendar. The colour, sparkles, energy, cheekiness and sheer volume of ..well.. everything ..is truly something to behold.
And this year is extra special because of the historic Yes vote for gay marriages – so there was a gay marriage included in the parade for the first time ever.
Oh… and Cher (at 71) was there killing it as the headline act for the official party – and for the 500,000-strong crowd. Amazing!
Aside from the well-known The Dykes on Bikes (who are on motorcycles, not pushies of course!), on the surface, there does not seem to be much bicycle action at Mardi Gras.
But… dig a little deeper and you will find that Mardi Gras has a heart of two-wheels! Here are just a few examples…..
The Sydney Spokes is a social cycling group for gay and lesbian riders. This cycling club has an amazing history and connection with the Mardi Gras.
In 1987, Sydney Spokes had it’s first official and public recognition when it was listed in the Mardi Gras Festival Guide. The listing described their first bicycle-theme Mardi Gras entry for that year.
In 1991, the club won 1st Prize Mardi Gras Parade for Best Community Float, which entailed Brett Heil (organiser) and three cyclists ‘towing’ a ute with floating ropes of helium balloons. Upmarket bikes were raised high on the back of the ute and Sydney Spokes riders flanked both sides, whilst other members circled the main float on bikes.
According to the club, the Channel 9 Sunday Evening News (then the highest-rating program on Sydney television) led its Mardi Gras coverage with footage of the Spokes float.
In 1995, the club once again took out a Mardi Gras Parade Prize, this time for Most Outstanding Foreplay, which was awarded for their performance which honoured loved ones who had died of AIDS through the clubs ‘Spirits of the Night’ entry.
There are a few rainbow cycling clubs around like Sydney Sokes – for example, the Velociped Salon Team below….
A gift idea for those rides who have a sock/kit fetish …. (joke intended!)
All across Australia, people celebrate Mardi Gras and rock the rainbow on two-wheels in many different ways.. like this lovely free spirit below photographed in Perth.
And these two brave Sydney Spokers below were snapped in the 2013 Mardi Gras….
And, finally, perhaps this guy below SHOULD have been at Mardi Gras??
However you ended up celebrating Mardi Gras this year – I hope you had a wonderfully sparkly time!
Remember, you don’t have to wait for Mardi Gras to rock the rainbow, get happy and get out on ya bike! Happy Mardi Gras all!