Cycling week 32
This week I rode into some feelings about endings.
A fast morning ride to work. Cold air – very good air for cycling in. One of those bright gold and dark grey skies.
This was the last Monday morning ride of my thirties and I was wearing my new red gloves. A couple of weeks ago I received an incredible cycling haul from my friend the poet Freya Daly Sadgrove, who moved to Sydney and asked if I wanted the cycling gear she'd left behind. The haul included everything you would ever need to cycle out of any situation – multiple padded shorts and leggings and cool little jackets and tops and hi-vis and gloves (so many gloves) and tyres levers and a spare pump. The red gloves are especially good because they are cosy and they have a friendly or possibly murderous look. The padded cycling shorts are also a revelation. My old ones – as mentioned previously – are so worn that they look diseased. I'm keeping them, though.
On the ride home, through Kelburn, a Toyota Hilux revved several times behind me then roared past, too close. I did my usual gesture of incredulity – a Seinfeldian outstretched hand. The pass definitely qualified as a punishment pass. But is there a risk in calling a bad pass a 'punishment pass'? Maybe it frames the encounter with hostility and malice, and makes you angrier, when possibly it was just garden-variety carelessness on the part of the passer. At the same time, for the pass-ee, these passes really do feel mean rather than careless. It feels like they're annoyed at you for being on the road but not in a vehicle, annoyed at you for presumably having opinions about people in cars. Which is true. I do have opinions.
A nice slow slog up Moana. I wasn't quite ready for the ride to be over so I did a few loops around Highbury for 20 mins before cruising home. A white blob in my headlights – Jerry trotting around on the driveway.
Grinding tiredness. Every pedal stroke a pain. Head ballooning with work. Splotchy rain, grey sky. My leg was griping again, numbness sneaking back in.
It felt darker than ever on the way home, and the hill was endless, endless. A cargo bike whirred effortlessly past. I was thinking about a story I've been trying to write that doesn't have an ending – it's just a collection of threads and half-thought ideas. Endings are difficult for me, in life as well as writing. It takes me a very long time to end anything. I think a good ending somehow nudges the reader towards what the point of all that was. Not necessarily what it means, but why it was told. Even if 'why it was told' is simply that it's something that happened and now life continues. But I struggle with endings because I often don't even really know what it is that happened. Come to think of it, I feel this way about my thirties.
After this ride I lay on the floor and foam-rolled myself into oblivion.
A bit more energy today, but leg still griping. At the bottom of the road I came across Jerry milling around in someone's garden. Stopped to ask him what the hell he was doing all the way down here. A man came out to go to his car and I realised I probably looked strange talking to Jerry. Wanted to say to the man, 'It's okay – we know each other.'
Tried to keep up my pace on Raroa this morning. The traffic fast and irritable at my elbow.
Rode home at night after the gym. A woman was walking slowly along Moana Rd and calling someone's name. She asked me, 'Have you seen a Labrador running around anywhere?' I hadn't and was worried, and wished her good luck. I wondered if it was the same Labrador, about a year ago, that came running up to me on my bike on this part of the road. I remember it looked happy to be on the loose.
A clear cold morning ride. Raroa Rd mostly tolerable.
Lots of dogs out today, trotting through sunshine. A cargo-bike with kids on board gliding past.
This week, whenever I've seen a cargo bike with children in it, I think of this deranged recent Instagram post by the owner of Prefab Eatery, who imagines a world in which, as a result of the Let's Get Wellington Moving campaign, '6-wheeler bikes are appearing with whole families living on board like screeching monkeys' and 'the only permittable, compliant, kind form of transport is two wheels.' Terrible writing aside – screeching monkeys! The first time I read this I laughed my head off. Why monkeys? Why are they screeching? If the roads were better for cyclists, I'd imagine our screeching would actually be reduced. The whole post is truly unhinged. And also annoying, because I like Prefab's bread. The only saving grace is that the bread actually fuels my bike rides, the very thing this man loathes. But I simply cannot keep buying bread from someone who thinks the city will be destroyed by cyclists and 'a car-hatred virus'.
Rode into town at lunchtime. Suddenly freezing cold on the bike. This is one of my least-favourite bike ride feelings – rushing downhill into shade on a cold day.
Rode home to finish the day. This lunchtime ride was really enjoyable – slow and steady, and I warmed up in the watery sun.
Woke up with a jangling cold and throat on fire and thought about pushing through, but figured I should be sensible and stay put. So there was no riding at all today, which made me slightly anxious and restless-feeling. And I didn't even manage a big ride this week. Ah well. Maybe next week. I did manage to finish the story, very badly, and sent it a few minutes before the midnight deadline. Then the day ticked over and I turned 40 and went to bed.