I had to give the annual Spring Cycle a miss this year due to other commitments. What I didn't expect was that we'd get caught up in the Cycle on the way to that commitment.
Tens of thousands of cyclists partake in this event, which means clogged streets for most of the morning whilst the slow moving hordes wander past. Most intersections are manned by the Police, which keeps the aggro drivers in check. If you get caught up in the stream, your only option is to bumble along in first gear at about 15 km/h, as there are enough of them to completely fill the cycle lane and the car lane, and about half the lane on the other side of the road.
Having done it twice, I know that the best thing to do is to be at the starting line in North Sydney at or before 7am (which is the official start time). That way, you have a chance of getting out in front of the sluggish family and eldster groups, which allows you to complete the 50km route before the sun goes down. Whilst it's good to see so many diverse groups doing the ride, the speedster in me has to put up with the frustration of dawdling behind people who obviously cycle on a very casual basis, so they don't have the fitness and strength to power up the hills, or to get up to a good clip on the flat.
These are the sorts of people that shit motorists to tears when they take to the roads at peak hour on work days. I figure that if you are going to ride on a main road with lots of other traffic, you owe it to those motorists to not slow them down too much, which means being able to rip along at a good pace. If you can't hold 30 km/h on a flat road with no headwind, then you should go away and train somewhere else until you are capable of doing that. Otherwise, find another route.
I usually find that if I am giving it my all, and obviously doing my best to go as fast as humanly possible, then most motorists seem to respect that and they don't get upset at being delayed for a few seconds. However, I can understand them going berko when trapped behind some birkenstock wearing, hemp clad feral who is weaving from side to side as the try and balance several shopping bags of soy milk and vegetables on their handlebars - and all the while proceeding at the stately pace of a funeral carriage.
That said, I still wish I could have done the Cycle today. By now, I'd be home, having ridden to North Sydney, then to Homebush Bay, had a rest (after riding through the olympic torch fountain to cool down) and then home again; a trip of about 80km. Remember how the torch rose up around Cathy Freeman after she lit it at the Olympics? It's now mounted on a stand about 20 feet high, and it's a working fountain most of the time. It's great to ride under it on a hot day (so long as all your valuables are wrapped up in plastic bags).