Maps and rides

Mona by e-bike

Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards recounts his cycling trip to Hobart’s famous museum of old and new art, Mona, enjoying the Corridor of Modern Art along the way.

January 2022

Getting there

If you’re going to Hobart there’s an important decision to make: are you going to Mona? Everyone asks whether you went to the world renown monument to one man’s head for math and heart for art.

Unbelievably, my Tasmanian raised wife Linda and I had never been, so on our visit to Hobart we made the decision to go visit the so called ‘museum of sex and death’.

Decision two was how to get there from our Salamanca hotel. Bus? Boring. Mona’s boat that looks like it’s ready for a D-Day invasion? Maybe. Pedal out on the Intercity Cycleway? We have a winner!

Decision three was what bike to hire. Matching step-through e-bikes from Hobart Bike Hire sounded romantic (although it took me about 32 dismounts before I stopped swinging my leg over the seat).

Along the way

It’s supposed to take 45 minutes to pedal the 13 kilometres from the city to Mona. It took us an hour and 45 minutes. Not because the riding was difficult – there was just so much to see on the way.

Decision four made itself: stop and watch a pod of about 15 dolphins playing just upstream from the Tasman Bridge. A friendly local bike rider who thought we were lost and offered to help was just as excited as us to watch the show.

Decision five was also easy: detour off the cycleway down to the stunning Cornelian Bay. Having the e-bike to effortlessly chew up the hill on the way back revealed just how amazing these machines are.

An added bonus was watching grandparents help their precious progeny experience two wheels for the first time and deciding that if one day we become grand parents (no rush daughters), we’re going to be active grandies.

Decision six was to keep stopping and enjoying the murals on the Corridor of Modern Art (COMA) along the Intercity Cycleway that starts around the suburb of Moonah (neither COMA or Moonah to be confused with Mona).

Tassie bike lanes

Of course, along the ride I couldn’t help but put on my bike advocacy hat when assessing the bike riding facilities.

A highlight was finding Hobart’s first separated bike lane linking the cyclceway to Glenorchy (we need more of these in Tassie!)

Perhaps the easiest decision of the day was that we need to ramp up (pun intended) efforts to convince the government to fix the treacherous cycleway crossings at places like Elwick Road and Lampton Avenue. A more difficult decision is whether a crossing, tunnel or fly over is the best solution.

The Mona experience

When you turn in the gate at Mona, the pedal through the vineyard up to the buildings is gorgeous, especially when you have pedal assist to escort you up the hill. The Mona bike parking with a view was also very much appreciated (below, right).

As for the art, well it wasn’t nearly as shocking as I expected – although I don’t think taking a seven year old to Mona as some people did is a great decision.

Mona doesn’t take itself too seriously. So for the first time in my life I felt welcome in an art gallery and not judged if I made a comment that showed my lack of knowledge about the subtleties of fine art.

I was partocularly mesmerized by a piece of art that spells out the most searched words on the internet (below, left).

I am pleased to report that the 13 kilometer pedal back to Hobart with the e-bike on full speed only took a little over an hour. But it did involve the hardest decision of the day: what flavour to order at Valhalla Ice-cream? I almost went for a refreshing lemon-lime. But Valhalla is proudly Tasmanian so after some debate it had to be raspberry for me and raspberry and white chocolate for Linda.

Next time you go to Hobart, it’s an easy decision: pedal out to Mona and make sure you allow plenty of time to enjoy the ride.