Bikefest and the Sustainable Living Festival

There are two cool festivals going on right now: Bikefest and the Sustainable Living Festival.

My main interest was Bikefest, which kicked off February 14 with a Valentine’s Day breakfast and speed dating and runs through March 9. There are different events including a market, workshops, a ride-in movie, and a number of rides.

The Sustainable Living Festival began February 9 and runs through February 24. The program is extensive with many workshops, exhibitions, tours, art works and more around various sustainability topics such as gardening, urban restoration, energy, simple living, permaculture, a lot of DIY (e.g. making paper, bread, jams, cider, cheeses, cleaning products, beauty products), as well as some not-so-obvious subjects such as re-imagining masculinity towards a more sustainable future. You can view or download the program here or just click on a calendar date to see what’s going on.

This weekend I went to the Bikefest Treadlie Market, which was nestled within the Sustainable Living Festival’s Green Market behind Federation Square in the Melbourne CBD.

I’d been looking forward to the Bikefest Treadlie Market for weeks. Since I purchased my bike a few weeks ago, I’ve been wanting to do little more than shop for cute bicycle accessories and the Bikefest Tradlie Market promised a lot of vendors in one place.

The first challenge this weekend was time. It just turned out to be one of those rare weekends where Theo and I both had half a dozen commitments and things to do. Then, due to repairs along my train line, getting to the CBD took over an hour via two trains and a bus instead of the usual 25-minute train ride. Finally, it was hot, really hot, but I made it.

AfroBlonde stall at Bikefest.
AfroBlonde makes hats and bags from recycled truck canvas. Photo by emilymelbourne on the Sustainability Festival’s Flickr.

Admission into the Green Market was free. It was one stall after another of exhibitors such as animal advocacy groups, conservation groups, organic foods, clothing and bags made from recycled and ethical materials, sustainable home solutions, co-housing and car sharing programs, and gardening and permaculture.

I could be better at sustainability. I’m happy to reduce, reuse, recycle, upcycle, compost, buy organic when I can afford to, choose to walk, ride my bike, or use public transport over a car when possible, and financially support the environmental efforts of others. However, I’m intimated and overwhelmed by sustainability practices that appear complicated, difficult, inconvenient, and expensive. Whilst events such as this are helpful, consumption is a massive environmental problem and green consumption is still consumption.

Roll Up Bicycle Valet at Treadlie Market.
Roll Up Bicycle Valet at Treadlie Market. Photo by Roll Up.

At the Green Market, the first thing I saw was the Roll Up Bicycle Valet Parking, which is a cool idea that I love. You just roll up, provide your details to the staff, get a numbered ticket, and leave your bike in safe hands in a barricaded area. If they have a mechanic on site, they’ll even give your bike a little health check. And it’s free! How great would it be if more events in Melbourne, which has a great bicycle culture, hired this service?

After strolling through the Green Market, I came to the Bikefest Treadlie Market. I love looking at beautiful bicycles and the market did not disappoint here. I saw gorgeous models from Gazelle, Allegro, Dolomiti, Achielle, Velorbis, and more. But here’s the thing: I have a bike I love and I’m not in the market for another. I was hoping to find accessories for my bike including a stylish helmet, a bell, a skirt guard, panniers, and an innovative lock, but there wasn’t much in this department and that was disappointing. I walked away with just a skirt garter from Cycle Style.

A cool thing I liked is the Best in Show. At all three major Bikefest events – Bikefest Treadlie Market, Port Melbourne Bikefest and the Bikefest Village Picnic – there’s a photo booth where people can show off their bicycle style. The photos are added to the Roll Up Facebook page and everyone can vote by Liking their favourites. The people with the most Likes in each category will  be invited to participate in a runway parade and be crowned the winners.

People on bicycles.
Best in Show images from Roll Up’s Facebook page.

Finally, no festival would be complete without food. Most of food appeared to be vegetarian and vegan such as veggie burgers, tempeh, curries, soups and salads, as well as juices, frozen drinks, and ice cream.

The Treadlie market and the Green Market may be over, but there’s much more to Bikefest and the Sustainable Living Festival. For more information, be sure to visit their websites.

Did you attend either of these festivals? What did you think? Or do you plan on going? Any thoughts on sustainable living?



  • I’m a bit festival-ed out at the moment, but I had looked into both of these. I like the idea, but so far haven’t seen anything on the programs of either one that would motivate me to leave the air conditioned comfort of home and venture out to participate in anything. I like markets, though, so maybe I will check those out.

    • I read your entry on the festivals you went to this weekend. Sorry they weren’t all they were cracked up to be. 🙁