The Waiting – March Ride 2 – Riverina Rollercoaster

26-27 March 2021

The end is nigh.

The earth has tilted. Back the other way. The equinox has come and gone.

The sunrise is after 7am. We are pulling the last dregs of daylight savings. It finishes soon.

And the fire restrictions also finish at the end of the month. After 31 March, farmers don’t need a permit to light things on fire like crop stubble and debris piles.

So with the end of everything summer coming soon, it’s time for a ride out in the cropping areas before the farmers start burning stuff, and the air becomes way too smoky to breathe.

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The Waiting – March Ride 1 – Re-jigged rail trail ride

5-7 March 2021
171 kms (106 miles)

There’s an urgency in autumn. The earth’s tilt is just right. The weather pattern is stable. The temperature becomes humane again, and there is day after day of sunny skies and light winds. There is a hurried sense that you need to take advantage of every single day because that perfect confluence of factors never lasts long enough.

In my part of Australia, you’ve really got to hit it and make the most of those perfect early autumn days. Those weather and earth axis conditions that are perfect for outdoor activities are also perfect for burning off crop stubble and conducting planned burns in the forest. The consequent smoky days really ruin the gorgeous days of autumn, so you’ve got to get out there and make the most of it before the burns begin.

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The Waiting – Feb Ride 2 – Over to the river and through the woods

26-28 February 2021
120 kms (75 miles)

The thought of a ride is always on my mind.

 If I am at work, and the day outside is nice, I consider the wind and which direction you’d hope to be riding if on tour on such a beautiful day. In my mind on those beautiful days, I can see the road flowing forth up a long valley or the views from any of the numerous forest roads in the region.

If the weather is poor, it will remind me of that day I rode 103 miles across the Montana plains in wind, rain and 42 degrees F. Or a couple times on tour waiting out a snow day in my tent in Iowa or Illinois in early spring.

Or I will get random memories from the thousands of rides I’ve done over the past 10 years that pop in my head at any ol’ time. Cycling memories are always there, and regardless of weather or health, I’m always planning the next ride.

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2021 The Waiting – Introduction

2019 bled into 2020. The drought, the fires, the extreme temperatures. It seeped into the new year like the bushfire smoke seeped into our homes and lungs. There were no fireworks in the new year, since there was enough fire in the landscape already. Celebrations were subdued. And so began the year that was 2020.

2020 has bled into 2021. We’re all still working from home. Virus restrictions are still in place. The virus has seeped into the new year like it seeps into nasal cavities. There were no fireworks in the new year, except in Sydney, since authorities didn’t want people to crowd together to watch. Celebrations were subdued. And so begins the year that is 2021.

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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