Like other Australian cities, cycling is much more popular than it used to be. I was staying on St Kilda Road and especially during the rush hour, saw lots of cyclists on their way to and from work. There were so many in fact that it was a bit like some of the videos you see about Portland in Oregon where the busiest roads are shown. I say Portland rather than a European city because the cyclists have a look about them that is closer to those seen in North America - on my viewing, they can be divided into three types: (1) mamils, (2) dudes on mountain bikes with cargo shorts and (3) boys and girls on fixies with skater helmets. Interspersed among all of those of course are plenty of women in frocks on Dutch style upright bikes.
The coolest thing about Melbourne for me though is its awesome tram system. Unlike other Australian cities, after the second world war, Melbourne kept its trams. The Chairman of the Tramways Board, Sir Robert Risson, defended the trams against calls for closure and put up a convincing case for keeping them saying it would actually be more expensive to rip up the tracks. It's now one of the biggest networks around.
He argued (correctly I think) that trams will always attract more passengers than an equivalent bus service. He was shown to be correct in 1956 when the Bourke St bus service was upgraded to a tram in time for the Olympic games, despite opposition from newspapers newpapers.
Trams go everywhere and always have a lot of people on them. I didn't get on any tram with fewer than 30. On many streets, old trams stops that required passengers to cross the road in front of traffic have been replaced by new lengthened stops:
You can imagine how Melbourne would grind to a halt if the trams disappeared and all those passengers had to go by car or take a bus service that would inevitably be stuck in traffic. Robert Risson is a legend.
(Borrowed from here because I am really not a very good photographer and just could not take a decent picture of a tram)