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The annual Bikefest promises a packed program of bicycle-biased fun... but once again Catherine Deveny's Pushy Women forum will be a hee-laire highlight

Catherine, last year’s Pushy Women sold out and was a veritable smorgasboard of Melbourne’s funny, literary ladies – Noni Hazlehurst; Stella Young; Emilie Zoe Baker; Clementine Ford; Ethel Chop; Jess McGuire; Anna Krien and Nelly Thomas. Who do you have planned for 2013?
We have a cracking line up!

Yana Alana Award winning chanteuse, feather ruffler, rabble-rouser and cabaret provocateur. Author of 'If You Were A Carrot I Would Have Cum By Now'.

Aleisha McCormack Comedian, axed Circle girl and zombie invasion/apocalypse expert.

Fiona Scott Norman Writer, performer, life model, swing dancer and chicken fancier.

Geraldine Quinn Musician, songwriter, writer, Bowie nut, bookworm, actor. Once touched Morrissey.

Bridie O’Donnell Doctor dropout, champion cyclist, skilled track-stand singer, parlo italiano.

Kelly Parry Storyteller, lezzo mum, budding slacktivist, mental bitch.

Kate Holden Writer. Good girl gone bad gone good again. Apparently.

Geraldine Hickey Funny, filthy and endearing all at the same time.

Hosted by me. Eight chicks talk about life on two wheels.

What were some revelations that surprised you from last year’s panel?
Writer, agitator and crip Stella Young, who has never ridden a bike, read a hilarious and moving obituary to her old wheelchair (she had recently ungraded to her new one nicknamed Elita I). Comedian Nelly Thomas had us in stitches about her life as an under-13 BMX champion in Perth, and Noni Hazlehurst 'fessed up she lied about being able to ride a bike to get the role of Nora in the movie Monkey Grip. It was a magic night and we cannot wait to rip the lid off it again for 2013. People are still raving about it.

Many discussions about cycling in the media turn into a giant snarkfest from both sides – two-wheelers and four-wheelers. Can such vitriol seep into a Pushy Women discussion?
NO WAY! This is a fun, colourful mixed up bag of lollies about the romance, raunchiness, fun, madness and liberation of cycling, bikes and other velocipedes. Faster than walking, cheaper than driving, more reliable than public transport and the closest thing to flying. On a bike you are the hero of your own novel. Feminist pioneer Susan B. Anthony said in 1896, "The bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can't get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood."

What’s your favourite cycling get-up? 
Totally 1930s French. I wear chunky high heels, fishnets or hose, nice frock, brown furry jacket (that my family calls Humphrey because when I wear it I look like Humphrey B Bear) a neck scarf and red lippy to go with my woollen French hat with a bow from Scally and Trombone my girlfriends gave me for my 40th. I ride a big black Dutch Lekker grandmother bike. No helmet. You heard me. I have appointed myself an unofficial commuter cycling ambassador. I want men and women to look at me all frocked up and on the way to gigs, fun, dinner, movies and shows, dinking a kid with a dog in the basket, and think, "So you don't have to look BMX, Lycra or high vis to cycle. If she can get around like that so can I!"

By Jenny Valentish   |   Photos by Brent Lukey

Bikefest: Pushy Women details

859 High St, Thornbury 3071

Telephone 03 9484 9831

Nearby Stations: Thornbury

Price $23.50 to $34.70

Date Sun 24 Feb 2013

Open 4-6pm

The Thornbury Theatre map

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