Spokes(Wo)Man

Scared of traffic ? No bike infrastructure ? Too Far ? Helmet hair ?

 

Fuck it, ride anyway

May you blog in interesting times ...

I used to wonder what on earth Scandinavian or Dutch bike bloggers would even have to write about. I mean meh, why even get out of bed ?

“Today my entire family including the baby, little Femke, who is surprisingly fast, rode helmetless, along our delightful dedicated cycle infrastructure, all the way to school/work/the marijuana café. We saw a car, and oh how we gelached!”

  I mean, it just doesn’t grab you, does it? Where’s the conflict resolution, who’s the protagonist?

I mean, it just doesn’t grab you, does it? Where’s the conflict resolution, who’s the protagonist?

Sure enough, I went looking on the weekend and found someone’s cycling blog where they were bemoaning the lack of anything new to write about or as they put it “I can’t just keep doing reviews of new cycling jerseys.” Heh heh sucker.

From a writing perspective I couldn’t agree more, but I think if you felt you MUST write, you’d manage to find something else in your life that you’d be passionate enough to blog about. Failing that, pick up some of my backlog and help a sister out!

From a cycling perspective, let’s just say I have for some time honestly wished I didn’t have quite so much to write about, I wish that safe bike infrastructure wasn’t such a contentious issue, that the hostility towards us wasn’t so overt and so blatantly celebrated amongst the feeble-minded of our nation, including some of our politicians who are quite frankly derelict in their duty for doing so. It’s as though an ancient crone cursed me at birth “May you blog in interesting times.”

  And here is said crone, wearing the latest in Dalmatian puppy wear.

And here is said crone, wearing the latest in Dalmatian puppy wear.

Feeling like a persecuted minority makes, well me at least, more likely to face opponents head-on, and I feel like I have become a cycling activist (a cyclist ? wait no, that doesn’t work) and while you need people to not look away and condone bad behaviour, poor policy decisions and just outright bullshizzle, it is exhausting being a militant cyclist.  But you know, you forget the bad stuff when you’re on your bike.

  Don't make me militant; you won't like me when I'm militant...

Don't make me militant; you won't like me when I'm militant...

When I rode in the early days (last year, hah !)  I felt like I’d been given some mind-altering drug and was riding in a constant state of hyper-vigilance but often without being "in the moment". 

Mindfulness.jpg

Halfway across the Sydney Harbour Bridge one day I saw some interstate cyclists taking videos on the bridge and realized I was so focused on anticipating and evading the actions other riders, motorists, pedestrians, falling leaves and random dogs, that I wasn’t paying any attention to what is supposedly one of the loveliest harbours in the world.

So I relaxed; the sun was shining, the harbour to either side of me was a glorious blue, and I slowed down, grinning and just delighting in the moment.  In the car or bus you’re insulated from the smell of the local bakeries in the early morning, of fresh bread and pastries just out of the oven; the sight of leaves turning from green to autumnal orange; a pedestrian who smiles and returns your wave.

The air smells of damp leaves and you cycle along in more of a zen state, and the foundation of skills and experience allow you to assess any potential threat or not, and to move in a more casual response. To ride with less anxiety. It is very very good for the spirit.

I guess it’s a bit like when Luke was trying too hard during his training in the swamp, and Yoda was able to kick his arse time after time; but once he relaxed and allowed the Force to flow through him … No ? too old a reference ?

Ok, what about when Neo was learning to manipulate the Matrix and could slow the passage of bullets and did that almost ballet-like … No ? Still too old ? Oh go away, I don’t care.

You know what I mean.

Nothing else matters. Ride your bike.