Boy, am I shagged. I can barely work up the energy to lift each finger when typing this. All I did was ride west a little way, turn around, and return home. It just goes to show what a few months of relative inactivity can do to the body. I feel like a jellyfish washed up on the shore - just a limp, floppy bag of goo.
My aim today was to see if I could find my way to the Light Horse interchange, which is way out west. I wanted to reach that spot because there is an excellent looking bike path running the length of the M7 - at least it looks excellent from the car when I drive past it at 100km/h.
I know how to get to Parramatta. What I don't know is how to get from Parramatta to points further west, so today I put on the pith helmet, saddled up and went exploring.
I was planning on taking my bike path map so that I wouldn't get lost, but I then found that I'd lost the map, so I was flying blind. Once I reached the end of the "proper" bike path at Parramatta, I decided that I'd simply try and follow the motorway by taking parallel streets and paths.
Funnily enough, that actually worked for a while, except that the "paths" are the narrowest, lumpiest, crappiest goat tracks that I've seen in ages. Here is an example of one. Clearly, the locals don't walk much. I did see a few out and about - one was a wino, stumbling along with an open stubbie at 10.30am. There were a couple of tough guys with mullets and blue singlets and dogs-that-should-be-shot. I also passed a trio of fat, pregnant, ugg boot wearing 17 year olds, also with blonde mullets. It looked like they were waddling to the pub for a beer and a fag.
Signage out that way is also non-existant. It's a good thing The Force was with me today, because I often found myself standing at an intersection like the one below thinking, "Have I run out of path?", and then spotting a concrete goat track winding up the hill on the other side. In this example, there is no way for someone on a bike to simply cross the road to get to the path on the other side. You have to ride up the street about 100 metres, cross over, cross another intersection and then cross this intersection again to reach the path. The wingnuts who laid the concrete around here forgot to put in such elementary things as pram ramps.
And then we have the hidden signage. There is a bike path sign in this photo. Hint - it's lurking in the tree.
The only indication that the bike path continued in this case was the fact that the traffic light had signals for both bikes and pedestrians - but there was not a single iota of signage to say which way one should go after crossing this intersection. Trust The Force, Luke. Trust The Force.
Some craphead engineer also decided to replicate the Paris-Roubaix bike race by building a cobble stone style concrete path. The blurriness in this photo is not from the massive speed I was achieving - it is from me bouncing up and down violently.
Holyroyd City, captained by a bunch of cock-spankers. I took this photo in the middle of an urban slum. Discarded rubbish was blowing around my ankles. The streets were a mass of pot holes. The surrounding houses appeared to be full of drug dealers, smack-heads, welfare cheats, thieves and wastoids. The whole place had the rundown feel of Soweto, and they'er worried about being nuclear free? I think they have bigger problems on their hands.
I goofed by not eating properly before I left home - I was trying to ride up to 60km on two bits of toast and a cup of coffee. By the time my wheels had turned 40km, I was completely out of energy. At the 45km mark, I had to stop for fuel.
Yes, it does seem odd to go out and do a long ride in order to burn off some excess kilos, but there was little chance of me actually making it home unless I took in a bit of energy. Don't worry, I ate less than half the chips and binned the rest.
As for the drink, screw Gatorade and all those other modern, fancy drinks. I just stick to good old fashioned Coca-Cola, preferably in one of those 285ml classic glass bottles. That's all I need.
Speaking of energy, I started writing this at 3pm. At 3.10, the youngest started howling, so I plonked myself down on his bed to keep him company.
I woke up at 5pm. I have completed the 2nd half of this story 3 hours after starting out. I was utterly knackered.
In case you know western Sydney, I made it as far as the KFC on the corner of Old Prospect Road. I was a good 9km short of the Light Horse intersection, and am still at a loss as to how to fill in that missing link. Still, I pushed on 4km into the unknown, and I now have a route (of sorts) to follow. It's a crap route, so next time I will have to look for a better way through. Maybe Friday will be the day.