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

Eclipse – August Ride 1 – Questing

17 August 2019

57 kms (35 miles)

Sometimes I lose myself in a string of bicycle touring videos – usually solo cyclists taking on remote and/or difficult routes in far-flung places. Sometimes it’s places I’d like to ride myself – sometimes it’s a journey far more difficult than I would ever want to accomplish. But there are other times when inspiration comes in more domestic and day-ride sorts of ways.

There is a gentleman on the Cycle365 site who posts about his Questing rides in the English countryside. I love these write-ups because he casually cycles among Roman ruins, ancient hedgerows, verdant pastures and historic thatched roof homes. It is so different to Australia in its climate and Australia’s infant European history.

So today’s ride is one that I’m sure would be in the checkpoint book, if Questing were a thing here. Read more

Eclipse – July Ride 1 – A new record

20/21 July 2019

70 kms (44 miles)

There were times when the earth warmed. This happened over thousands or hundreds of thousands of years. And then there were times the earth cooled, over thousands or hundreds of thousands of years. And it did this again and again, on timescales too huge for most to comprehend. There were five mass extinctions along the way, wiping out 70 – 96 percent of life on Earth each time.

And then man arrived. And then there was the Industrial Revolution. And then the climate began to warm at unprecedented speed – in a couple hundred years instead of thousands or tens of thousands. And so also began the 6th mass extinction event – we are living it now.

I’ve gazed at the KT-boundary in walls of rocks – that thin line of history 66 million years ago that saw 76 percent of all life wiped out. Such a thin line. And so we tread another one now.

Anyone with any understanding of geology and the time scales involved cannot help but be alarmed by the trend lines on those climate graphs. There is nothing to believe or not believe about climate change. You either understand the science or you out yourself as scientifically illiterate.

Yet those humans and their contribution to a rapidly warming climate are helping me set my own record this weekend. Read more

Eclipse – April Ride 2 – Easy does it

27 and 28 April 2019

40 kms (25 miles)

ANZAC day has come and gone. The rains have not yet come. Usually, ANZAC day coincides with the autumn break, and everyone suffers through a cold and wet dawn service. (ANZAC Day is like Memorial Day in the US, but without all the “USA!-RAH-RAH-RAH!” chest-beating patriotism.)

So the autumn break, when we get our first big dump of rain for the wet season, is late. It is looking it might come late this coming week. Or maybe that will be just another cold front and it will go back to being dry again. April is going to end up with only one day of the month where we had any precipitation  at all – and even that was only 4mm.

This does mean that the weekend weather is perfect again. Read more

Eclipse – April Ride 1 – Lookout!

13/14 April 2019

127 kms (79 miles)

There is something about the angle of the sun. There is something about the temperature. There is something about the light winds and stable atmosphere that make autumn in Southeast Australia somewhat serene. It’s as if there is a collective sigh of relief when the temperatures become humane again, as if we’ve all survived another stupidly scorching summer and get to indulge in a just reward. Somehow the light, the temp and the atmosphere all beckon the outdoorsy to live it up for the few weeks each autumn where the weather is just perfect. Read more

Eclipse – March Ride 1 – Sense of urgency

15/16 March 2019

106 kilometres (66 miles)

This ride is driven by a sense of urgency and by a sense of betrayal.

There is a sense that the good days are numbered, if you can call these good. After a super-hot and miserable summer, there is a feeling that you MUST get out there in March and April to take advantage of the ‘good’ weather before the autumn break and the winter rains come. Read more

Eclipse – Feb Ride 1 – The Devonian

10/11 February 2019

Total Kms: 70 kms (44 miles)

It’s a part of you. It’s not something you can change. You can push it back – hold it back – refrain from acknowledging that it is who you are. It’s like eye colour or hair colour or body shape. It’s not a choice. It’s just who you are. It’s psychologically damaging to be told it’s a choice. It’s physically damaging if you ignore it.

Because riding a bicycle is just a piece of your identity – something maybe you didn’t ask for, but something that is life-changing once embraced. Read more