Monday 14 September 2009


I started my ride thinking, "I am going to photograph every cyclist going my way this morning". I got as far as photographing this one, and then met all the others in locations where it was too risky or difficult to pull my camera out. Ah well.

The way home - a mix of three different types. You have the Speed Racer on the left, Mr Casual in the middle and Relaxed and Safe on the right. A full blown road bike, a flat bar hybrid and a purpose built commuter bike. Shaved legs, tracksuit pants and "modesty" bike shorts. All existing in harmony.... blah blah blah, very Stevie Wonder.

Mr Relaxed and Safe was actually an excellent cyclist. Here he is, doing a track stand at the lights. I had to make a few detours on the way home, and found myself following along behind him several times (he was good, but slow). His manners were impeccable, especially his hand signals and his willingness to give way to people coming the other way when things got cramped. He was a pleasure to ride with.

Unlike the crab in the distance in this photo. Reflective Guy in the foreground if our oft-met Polite and Handy cyclist. He almost smashed into the Useless Crab in front after she executed one of the daftest manoeuvres I have seen this year right in front of him. If he wasn't so polite and laid back, I'm sure he would have brained her with his bike lock and tossed her carcass in the Bay.

Now for a short discourse on lycra, which everyone who knows nothing loves to bag.

I was up at 0600 this morning, and it was already warm. The morning temp has leapt from 10 degrees to 17 degrees in like 3 days. The undershirt has been discarded - I am now riding in normal summer rig. It was muggy too - humidity is currently 71%, and it is nowhere near as wet now as it was this morning. Before long, the mornings will be getting quite hot and totally humid.

When that happens, I will be sweating buckets. I will consume a full water bottle going into work and another coming home, and on really hot days, I'll take two. It is quite common for me to have sweat running up and down my arms (depending on the airflow - when I stop, it runs down. When I go, the air pushes it back up my arms) with sweat drops flicking from my elbows. I have to wear gloves to stop my sweaty hands from slipping off the handlebars. In summer, I'll also drink a glass of Endura when I get home to replace all those micro-thingys that I've sweated out.

If you're not careful, conditions like that can lead to awful crotch chafing and crotch rot. The whole idea of lycra is not to look good - it's to wick away ferocious amounts of precious bodily fluids. Imagine throwing a T-shirt in a sink full of water, and then putting it on and going for a run in it - that's how a common or garden shirt would end up if I wore one on a ride. Even now, when I get to work, my lycra gear is wet enough for me to wring sweat out of it, and it's not even hot yet. I wear the lycra stuff because it is comfortable. Sure, I look pretty silly, but I can live with that. What would you rather have - stinking, gangrenous crotch rot or the odd clown giggling at you?

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are easy to deal with.

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