Right then, was a good start, down south through the medical precinct for the first coffee of the challenge. Since today is Friday it’s a new week according to the rules, so off I’ll go in a new direction. New rules for myself are that I’ll try my best to go to places that I’ve never been to before, but here in Melbourne we’re surrounded by a bazillion coffee shops, so how to choose? If I go out on my lunch break I can disappear for about an hour; that splits up nicely into twenty minutes to get somewhere, twenty minutes to have a coffee and twenty minutes to get back. The twenty minutes equates to about a 6-8 km radius, looking on the map this morning showed me the concrete monstrosity of Brandon park shopping centre and what appears to be a cafe or two on the outside – I’ve never been there and I don’t think I ever want to go, but part of a challenge is being challenged, so I decided it was today’s target.

Lunch time rolled around and off I went, zigzagging through campus and out to the east through the industrial and semi-industrial areas between Blackburn and Springvale roads. Along the way I passed a very rudimentary takeaway joint that’s been there forever, but always looks to be on the verge of going away since it’s in what looks like an old transportable site shed… we’ll remember that for later.

Ugh. Springvale road looked truly horrendous and I nearly baulked and headed back, but I’d made myself a promise, so after a brief check of the nearest business park building – nope, no café – left turn onto Springvale road, over the freeway and into the concrete monstrosity’s car park. It was everything I’d expected, both concrete and monstrous, and like ugly shopping malls everywhere nothing faces outwards. I circled it cautiously then turned away, seemingly destined to visit the little takeaway joint seen earlier.

I should have trusted my earlier intuition, pulling up at “The Little Food Hut” and parking the bike on the timber deck then going inside to join the queue… a queue almost out the door, but being handled quickly by three busy staff.

A flat white and a doughnut1 for $6 but I was handed $5 change from a $10 note because they were busy and had run out of coins. Then outside to sit in the sun and enjoy my break. Unfortunately the sun quickly hid itself behind the clouds and the temperature dropped, not helped by me only wearing a business shirt and pants, I hadn’t bothered changing into a warmer riding top.

The one piece of adornment at the cafe is a mural on the end of their building, so despite the start of the drizzle I paused for a quick photo once I’d finished my coffee.

On leaving I discovered a bike path hidden behind a fence on the apex of the corner, it heads straight back west and avoid mingling with the traffic on Duerdin street and Dunlop road, cutting down through the park and coming out at the end of Normanby road. A nasty little climb up Normanby road to Blackburn road, then race back to work through a light sprinkle of rain, taking a shortcut through the CSIRO. Back in under an hour.



1 donut/doughnut – the former the American and the latter the English and Australian spelling, and due to coincidence was one of words in number one son’s spelling homework last week. Due to the vagaries of the English language, the letters “ough” can be pronounced in something like seven different ways, so with much amusement my grandmother, my mother, myself and now my son all call them duff-nuts…. like rough and chough but not like plough or through.