Thursday 6 August 2009


0610 - crawl out of bed. Monkey climbed in an hour or two beforehand, and has been kicking me in the nuts for the last half hour. Time to get up, have a coffee and read some blogs. I never write a blog at this hour if I can help it - whatever I write never makes any sense 12 hours later. I just read a dozen or so blogs over a coffee, waiting for the big ball of light to appear over the horizon and for my metabolism to crank over.

0630-0700 - Monkey awakes, demanding "eggs for breakfast". We make boiled eggs and toast soldiers, and sit down at the dining table to share two googie eggs. A few strips of toast dunked in runny egg yolk are all I need to settle the stomach for the ride into work. If the trip was flat, I could eat a proper breakfast and ride without fear of chundering on one of the nastier hills on my route.

0715 - pull kit together. Keys, wallet, sunglasses, building security pass, spare tube, pump, clear lenses for the sunglasses, headlight, battery for headlight, socks, jocks and an ironed and folded business shirt. Fill the water bottle with clean water. Climb into stretchy lycra riding gear. Check the weather forecast.

0720 - bugger, broke the zipper on my shoe covers. Shoe covers are essential in winter for keeping some feeling in your feet. My bike shoes are very well ventilated, which is great in summer, but awful in winter. The shoe covers are made of thin neoprene, and getting them on is a right bastard. Imagine trying to pull tight, thick washing up gloves over your shoes. Getting it right requires never before seen yoga positions.

0730 - check the pressure in the tyres, and hit the road.

0730-0745 - easy, backstreet cruising. Keep the speed down initially to about 20km/h, building up to 25km/h after a few minutes. Just ease the legs into it. On Monday morning, after a weekend layoff, the legs warm up after a few blocks. By Friday, after being bashed around all week, it takes 3 or 4 suburbs to light the leg muscles up.

0745 - the first hill. My legs are still not warmed up, so I take the long way round. It's longer, but flatter, and my legs have only a light burn on them by the time I reach the crest. At that point, I join the "bomber stream" - a constant stream of cyclists heading city-wards on Lilyfield Rd. I usually have to stop before joining the bike lane, and wait for a gap in the bike traffic before joining the stream.

From this point, it is on for young and old. The testosterone kicks in a short time later with a nice, fast downhill section. The speed limit on that section is 50km/h - a speed I can hit with just the lightest turn of the cranks. My bike and mass put me up the fast end of the spectrum on this section - I bolt down the hill, kicking out into the car lane and building as much momentum as possible before attacking the slope on the other side. It's always a rush, as cars have a tendency to pop out of side streets, drivers have a bad habit of throwing doors open in your face, and the odd idiot overtakes at high speed, then brakes hard and turns left in front of you. You have to be very, very awake on this section of road.

0810 - arrive at the office car park. My feet are frozen lumps of ice. My toes are numb from the cold.

0815 - bike is locked away, computer is fired up and I am heading for the showers. Plenty of hot water is required to thaw my feet out.

0835 - showered, shaved, shampooed, dressed and sitting at my desk. I check if any urgent crap has arrived in my inbox overnight, then head out for a feed and perhaps a proper coffee.

An hour and five minutes from departure to ready for work. My fellow workers drag themselves in, bleary eyed after coming in by bus or train. I am perky. They are cranky. Their envy is palpable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am new to your blog and am finding your stories bring back memories I once thought I wanted to forget.
When my children were 3 and 4 (now 16 and 18)we moved to Brisbane in 1994 and were car-less. I bought an old bike for $5 and an old kids bike seat, taught my 4 yo son to ride his little bike and off we went for the next 2 years until all three of use rode our own bikes. My daughter now 16 fondly talks of her memories of sitting behind me as we rode around our area, threw our bikes on the train and then rode all over various parts of Brisbane. She talks of the songs we sang as we rode for hours, of watching the world go by not knowing I was slogging away on a bike with no gears. I later up graded to a three speed and a brand new kids seat but that first bike was a killer. My children and I remained car-less for 8 years in total and since we bought a car in 2002 I have hardly ridden my bike. However since reading your blog I am remembering that I did enjoy it even though we rode because of necessity and not choice. I have now decided to service my bike and give it another go all the while knowing I have a car parked in my garage available for rainy days and no wet weather gear will be required.
Thanks for the memories!