Cycling week 36
There was some griping, there was some cycling.
The morning ride. Head feeling like a slow-leak puncture.
At lunchtime, I rushed into town to the physio. The bad leg continues to be on fire. On the ride back to work, saw a spectacular cargo e-bike – it was a golden colour and had a long nose on it. There is something so elegant to me about these bikes. They are like a beautiful large-nosed French woman swooping through a crowd. Apparently these sort of front-loader bikes are also known as bakfiets or Long Johns.
A little white truck roared past inches away on Salamanca. I could almost feel my stomach forming an ulcer right there and then.
I was thinking today that I never see cyclists wearing those hi-vis vests anymore with, like, 'Mother' or 'Aunty' or 'Granddad' or even 'Human Being' printed in block letters on them. For a while there were a few around, and I would always secretly scoff to myself, thinking that it was silly to have to remind others that cyclists are people. But these days the idea of those hi-vis announcements is kind of weirdly moving and sad to me.
I wonder if it would work to get a photo of Jerry screen-printed on the back of my jacket, or if that would backfire.
Rode home. Drizzly. Tired legs. Creeping suspicion that the evenings are getting lighter.
Accidentally left my bike out overnight so I have to get on a wet bike – a bad sensation. Like wet dog but unfriendly.
Cold spitty rain on the ride in. A need for change of clothes. A 4WD followed me horribly closely on Raroa Cres as I flailed away trying to go faster. Arrived at work; discovered had forgotten undies.
After work, I zoomed into town through chilly air to a book launch, stopping to stare into a necessary beer on the way, then rode home at night afterwards. As I rode – a slow, mostly quiet ride in the dark, hill ever-steeper – I did some old-fashioned post-morteming of the day and saw very clearly that I had failed miserably at every task. (Once at home I realised – as usual – that I was just hungry.)
Forgot gloves and headband so I felt naked to the air on this ride. A kākā swooped low over the road on ride to work, one of those interesting near collisions where you marvel at the reflexes of the other party.
Passed by a small woman going hell for leather on an e-bike, seeming to use her entire body to press forward.
Got whacked in face by flax on the ride home. A woman and her Alsation stopped to let me go by on the narrow road.
A strange mood possessed me and I set out on foot.
I know I often say the words 'grey and cold' in relation to the morning ride, but this one really was grey and cold. It was a whole different experience of greyness and coldness. From a poem called 'foils of cloud' by Catherine Vidler: 'the sky crying out for some decent conversation'.
On the ride home I felt so tired it was like my brain had been rolled in gravel. This was a ride to just get through and be done with, but the sky was so pretty that I was forced to enjoy it – all blue and pink, Barbie eyeshadow colours. The roads oddly quiet.
I was thinking of another Cath poem: 'The Striped World'. It is featured in a memorial issue of Blackbox Manifold that just came out the other day. Many of these poems make me cry but especially for some reason 'The Striped World'. 'how far back must the brain go / to find its answer ...' It is very hard to describe this but I love the restlessness, the endless search in Cath's poems; they seem to hit this really weird, deep, true nerve – it is both comforting and overwhelming to be with her in her poems.
Thinking of doing a re-set ride this weekend, a bit like this one I did on the Friday.