On Ya Bike

OK I admit it, I am not a morning person, I can think of nothing better than staying tucked up amongst the duvet, knees curled up in the fetal position, pillow tucked around my head and neck so that the body feels warm and nurtured. Spending the day horizontal and relaxed enjoying my thoughts, it’s amazing how many solutions and plans come bubbling to the surface, or the pleasure of losing oneself in the writing of another, a different world or time or adventure to imagine, or binge watching a television series that you have to keep watching the next episode because it is unthinkable to wait or delay the gratification of what comes next.

Every Friday night I imagine indulging myself by doing just that, but it is neither realistic or possible as Saturday morning’s means ‘Date Ride’. Breakfast at 5.30 and ride at 6.30 or 7am, not ideal for a non-morning human like myself but needs must. Date ride for us means spending time together in a shared activity where we can be ourselves, but it is not exclusive as our date rides generally includes our USO friends and ends with us all sitting at the coffee shop, sun on our backs laughing and eating scones. At the end of the date we both feel revitalised and happy to have carved out the time to be together.

Having a minor in the house means that training together as a couple requires a childminder for our grandson in our absence but in lockdown that is not possible so for the time being date rides are replaced with our family rides around the neighbourhood, indoor trainer sessions or the occasional road cycle alone. As hubby is the keen cyclist, I have deferred my Saturday rides to him; not at all influenced by my desire to stay connected to the duvet, yeah right.

However a few weeks in, I found myself getting a little twitchy for a ride, not because I was dreaming of the open road, the wind in my hair, the feel of lyra on the body, potential pbs (personal bests), I am chuckling to myself whilst I write that as cycling and I just don’t have that kind of relationship, no the desire was brought on from the increased girth and the fact that I could feel my thighs rubbing together when I walk. Motivation for cycling used to be ‘tick that ride off’ as it is part of the training program towards the end goal of a triathlon event, that was until I had an epiphany one day when the application myfitnesspal showed me that cycling burns twice as many calories as walking. I suddenly had a new respect for cycling and Saturdays became the day when I could eat whatever I wanted, bonus. Anyway, back to the lockdown, the downside is that it not about downsizing, working from home with back to back zoom meetings, pantry and freezer full, with only one walk at the end of the day was having its effect. So what else was a girl to do?

On Ya Bike

Last Sunday (still let hubby have the Saturday), even though the pull of the duvet was strong when the alarm went off it took a fair bit of determination to get up and on the bike, no 5.30 breakfast for me, I just gave myself fifteen minutes to get up and dressed (so I could spend another hour in bed).  

I always find that at the beginning of my cycles I tend to battle with little niggles of resentment, the cleat doesn’t want to clip in, this seat feels particularly hard this morning, is that a noise in the front wheel, the handlebars don’t feel at the right height, whose been tampering with this, my bibs are not sitting right, the legs feel like lead and so it goes on. This feeling can take ten to fifteen minutes to settle but once it does, the bike feels like it belongs to me and I get into a rhythm, relax and enjoy the scenery around me and let the memories wash over me as I cycle past, it’s like a brain dump or reset as the usual stresses don’t come into play.

Here’s a few snippets of my brain on Sunday’s ride:

No wind, that’s a relief, remember when I first started cycling with my mate Deb and we wouldn’t venture out the door if we saw any sniff of wind, the slightest leaf movement stopped us in our tracks. Now when I say no wind, I mean that the disc wheels aren’t catching as I ride with a side wind, Don’t the autumn colours of the vine leaves that are racing down the road towards me look pretty, what wind? The vineyards themselves are empty, I miss the laughs and waves from smiling faces of the workers who are usually present, it is then that I notice no traffic as well.

A lone red onion on the side of the road just past the local agriculture business, unusual to see just one. My hubby and I had great memories of K who founded that business, he was a charmer, I smile as I remember him, but I can’t think of K without also thinking of his great mate and ours S who we also lost. Love you guys.

I turn left at the corner that used to be planted in alternate pink and white flowering cherry trees which used to delight my brother and sister when we would go for a Sunday drive on the way to get a Rush Munro Ice Cream. In the very early days this would also be accompanied with a bag of nut toffee or fudge from their glass sliding cabinet. We used to have a competition to see which of us could make our ice cream last the longest, whilst we listened to Engelburt Humperdinck on the eight track; the ice cream didn’t melt nearly as fast in those days.

The next corner is where my parents lived in two caravans whilst they built a kit set log cabin on a lifestyle property, the land was cleared of tree stumps and planted with asparagus and citrus. I was married there and my husband died there eight months later. Dad had a smoke house which was always filled with eels. Gumboots and the smell of seaweed from the neighbouring property come to mind. A truck driver came and picked up some stock once and I was helping in my nighty and gumboots, every time I met him through the years that followed, he had the delight of reminding me.

The local go cart track is quiet, it is on the land that used to be the regional dump.

A truck goes past, that is the first vehicle I have seen, usually I cringe down this road and there are no pull off. The truck has a red poppy on its grill to signify ANZAC day, I think of my step father who had been in the war, he had medals but he never wore them at an ANZAC parade, he was a quiet humble man. He played the organ and the saxophone beautifully.

Wineries are everywhere down this road, however the road used to smell of fuel and rubber as dragsters used to scream down the quarter mile. I pass the Church Road Red Gravel Vineyard; Church Road is dear to my heart as it was originally my grandparents winery and their specialist wines Tom and Gwen are named after them.

Red must be my colour today, red onion, red poppy, Red Gravel vineyard and I am on my red Trek Emonda.

I push past the next corner as it is my exit point if I wanted to cut the ride short, so I resist the opportunity to ride past our old lifestyle property. So many memories, probably best described as ‘good, bad and ugly’, memories of family, dogs and friends as they say lifestyle properties can be a life sentence but its a life worth living.

I stop at the major intersection and take a photo of all three roads with no traffic, almost haunting. The person in the distance turns out to be a lamppost.

Heading for home and I smell bacon as I get closer town, people and vehicles start to appear, now I look forward to being back in my bubble.

Cycling as a ‘lone wolf’ is fun especially as there are no cars on the road with me, the memories today have kept my mind busy but I look forward to our date rides returning soon where I have to concentrate on keeping my line and staying left and hope not to have to call ‘Ease up’ too many times.

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