All the pieces left behind – Day 2

33 kms (14 miles)

Have you ever had a day that did not really go as you had seen it in your mind? Have you made decisions on the information available that turned out to be a bit misinformed?

With mobile phones allowing you to google any question you ever wanted to answer in real time and allowing instant access to weather reports and radar, it’s easy to forget how to make decisions for yourself and choose the best option. I’m reminded of this on the short ride today.

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All the pieces left behind – Day 1

53 kms (33 miles)

There should be rewards for getting up at sparrow’s fart.

The rewards I’m seeking when I get up at 4.50am today are a few hours of riding in cool temperatures with no wind or pesky flies.

But it is already 24 degrees when I get up and it is a very sticky warmth. It is very humid today which is a bit unusual for us, but not so much in a La Nina year like this. The pesky flies will join me just a few kms down the road.

However, the early start should help us beat the heat predicted (36C – 96F high) and the storms forecast after noon. The idea today is to pick up a couple new roads and get about halfway up the plateau, then find a place to camp before the storms come in.

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All the pieces left behind – Introduction

22-26 November 2020

You don’t always know when the end is near. Sometimes you don’t even know when you’ve reached a conclusion until hindsight later on makes it clear. Some endings are cataclysmic; some just flow on the trickle of time: think early-phase volcanism or the slow erosion of high mountain peaks.

Yet so many times post-conclusion, there is evidence left behind of what once was. It’s the chimney of a house long since gone. It’s the shards of glass that escaped the broom. It’s the knowledge gained from experience that says, “don’t do that again.”

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Shifting – Oct Ride 1 – Re-emerging

Oct 2-3
115 kms (71 miles)

We’re pedaling up through the bush on a gentle uphill, the tires emitting white noise as they part the sandy granite on the track. The sun is warm, enveloping, continuing on its trajectory toward longer, hotter days. The high will be in the 80s today, the first time since last autumn.  And the wattles are all in bloom – a yellow pox of pollen spread across the slopes of the hills like a histamine rash on skin.

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Shifting – July Ride 3 – Bein’ Green

18 July 2020
72 kms (45 miles)

Kermit the Frog has a couple famous songs. His song, ‘It’s not easy being green’ was featured on the first season of Sesame Street. That show has always been at the forefront of addressing tough social issues in a way that children can understand. “It’s not easy being green” sees Kermit feeling undervalued because of his colour, an analogy to race which, 50 years after being written, is just as relevant as ever. Read more

Shifting – July Ride 1 – Independence

6 July 2020

48 kms (30 miles)

It was a cool night in southern Sydney, but the pub was warm. The cover band played at one end of the main bar. A sprinkling of people, who had already had enough to drink to loosen inhibitions, danced to the ‘70s and ‘80s rock. The pub was probably ¾ full, and there was a line at the bar for drinks. The atmosphere was comfortably middle-class bogan hanging out with friends.

Then, the band launched into its next song, and it was as if the Sirens of Homer’s Odyssey had called. Everyone in the pub seemed to pause for a moment and turn toward the band. The dance floor filled quickly, the line at the bar evaporated, and people got up from their seats. And then nearly every person in that pub started to do a line dance with specific moves that EVERYONE seemed to know.

For as strange as this was to see, all those people could have been up there sacrificing a goat or partaking in any cultural ritual from around the world that you never knew existed until you stumbled upon it.

I watched in awe. It was my first Australian cultural experience related to this phenomenon. Read more

Shifting – May Ride 3 – Gone gravel

24 May 2020
70 kms (44 miles)

Things are coming to an end. The exotic dancers  trees are starting to disrobe, concluding their brilliant and flashy show this year. The COVID-19 restrictions are unwinding. I trust Nature’s signals more than I trust the government’s, but I do forecast that winter 2020 will be an interesting one to see how it all unfolds. What will the weather do? What will the mixing of people in the traditional flu season do? We’re all an experiment in one big petri dish right now. Read more