Shifting – January Ride 1 – An unexpected treat

19 January 2020

45 kms (28 miles)

The morning begins with thick smoke and an orange tint to the air. It’s been that way most mornings since the beginning of the year.

They’ve said we were going to get rain on a couple occasions now and we got nothing at all. Today they say we’re supposed to have showers developing. We’ll believe it when we see it. We haven’t had rain since the first day of December.

But somewhere around 11.30, the north-northwesterly that should bring that rain strengthens and blows the smoke away. I’ve been working on coursework, but when I see the opportunity to ride, I pluck it right up. Read more

Shifting – Introduction

The road tilts up gently. The wind begins to push hard against your face. You automatically shift into an easier gear to maintain cadence.

Sometimes you can see when you will need to shift. Sometimes you can just feel it. Sometimes it’s subtle; sometimes it’s not.

One of the joys of having ridden for many years is how you know just by instinct when to shift. It becomes automatic and not something you usually even think about.

And so, this year looks like it will be all about shifting. Read more

Eclipse – Conclusion

31 December 2019  and 1 January 2020

13 kms (8 miles) and 25 kms (15.5 miles)

NEW YEARS EVE

It’s the end. The end of innocence? No, Black Saturday should have taken care of that. The end of ignorance? No, humans are surprisingly capable of not learning from the past and acting only in self-interest. But it’s the end of something. You can feel it in the subdued atmosphere at the shops this year. There’s an anxiety in the air amongst the holiday festivities. Read more

Eclipse – December Ride 2 – Not quite the tradition

25 December 2019

55 kilometres (34 miles)

 

I have a tradition. It’s a one-day-a-year tradition. It’s something I look forward to each year. It is a Christmas Day gift. You see, while everyone else is inside celebrating Santa in the morning on Christmas Day, they leave the roads very empty. For an atheist with no family within many thousands of kilometres, it is a great gift. It means I can ride narrow, shoulderless roads that are normally too busy to consider. Read more

Eclipse – November Ride 1 – Putting the pieces together

23/24 November

85 kms (53 miles)

The dam broke in 2017. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.

You see, I’ve always seen life as a bit like being a kid building little rock dams in creeks to hold back water. Only in life, all the rocks are people, places, resources, jobs and such – the pieces you put together to build your life. You assemble all these little rock pieces of your life within the current of the universe. And once you’ve got all the pieces together, it holds back that current for a time and creates calm waters as you tread its safe depths.

Yet, that current is always moving. It’s a force that takes pieces away but also delivers pieces to you. The water can bring you lots of resources quickly, or slowly, and it can take them away quickly or slowly, too. Erosion, or life, is not an evenly-spaced sequence of events. Read more

Eclipse – The September Rides

Multi-month bicycle touring will change your life… in so many good ways. It teaches you resilience, mental toughness, flexibility, adaptability and how to appreciate the small things. It shows you the landscape and its people at a very human pace. It teaches you patience on the uphill and/or headwind sections; it grants you tremendous joy on the thrilling downhills. It makes you giggle with glee on those days with ridiculous tailwinds.

But multi-month bicycle touring has a few downsides.

In one way, it ruins you forever… Read more

Eclipse – Intermission – Who I am

There was a moment. Just a short moment. On the plane. On the way home from America back in June.

We were about six hours into the 15 hours of flight time. The flight was full. The agitated and odd man across the aisle from me was out of his seat, pacing back and forth up in the bulkhead again. The very tall American man squeezed into the middle seat beside me needed to get up and stretch and use the toilet.

I was sitting on the aisle. So I paused the music I was listening to and took off my headphones. I skinnied myself out of the seat in that 45-degree-angle way you do when everyone is crammed in with seats reclined after the dinner service. I stood up into the aisle, and then…. Read more