Cycling week 6
Friends – the season of sweat is upon us. What can be done?
Cycled to work in some kind of strange heat. What is this?
Cycled home. What can I say? I'm not happy about this heat situation. Who is happy? For all who ride a push bike, summer is the season of sweat, and the season of endless clothes changes, endless horrible little towels at the bottom of the pannier, endless laundry, endless stink.
Cycled to work. How to stop my sunscreen from melting in white rivulets onto my clothes? How to wear make-up? The only answer is to embrace the dishevelment. To take a change of clothes, and slap on make-up once the sweat has abated. But every year I think there must be some way around it; post-bike ride, there must be a faster way back to decency.
There's a lot of advice out there around this. Some people swear by a single sweat band; some people drive into their workplaces on the weekends to deposit a set of clothes for the entire week; some people use those shower-in-a-can things; some people ride very slowly to avoid sweating at all. Maybe the real problem is that I want too much. I want to ride a bike in the heat and the rain and the wind and I also want to look well-put-together at the end of it. And every day I discover again that I simply cannot have both.
Cycled home. Dying. Had a cold shower but it didn't take. Immediately sweating again. Feel like George Costanza.
Cycled into town for a gig. Arrived soggy.
Sometimes I regret cycling into town, because it means I'll have to ride home at the end of the night, when I'm tired. But I was glad I had my bike this time. The night ride was a joy – a slowish 30-min slog, windless and very dark. Why is it that the night seems darker when there is no wind? People complain about Wellington's dark roads and they have a point but I like riding along in the dark, as long as I have my front light. Felt like an owl.
Cycled to work. I can always tell that I am not doing very well mood-wise when I ride along and keep imagining gruesome accidents I might have. At every turn I vividly see myself getting mangled. Maybe I should walk for a few days. One can still get mangled while walking, but it's less likely.
Anyway, I rallied, and after work cycled into town for a dinner. Now, again this could have gone either way – I could have been unhappy to have to get on my bike at the end of the night, especially when full of food. But it was the right call – another excellent night ride, a slow but consistently paced plod up twisty hills.
Left bike outside at night, and it rained, so the next day my bike was cold and wet. Getting onto a wet bike is a very particular feeling. Like riding a large aloe vera plant. Cycled to work. The ride felt too short, and I consider maybe I should break out of my bubble more often and start doing a few longer rides before work. This seems like an excellent idea but it remains to be seen whether I will actually do it.
I've had a pretty good run with traffic this week. There have been the usual speeding bozos, but nothing more egregious than usual.
Cycled home, sweating like hell. Heavy legs. Profound end-of-year-itis. Sometimes when I'm riding along I think of a bit in Tirra Lirra by the River – I must've read this when I was about 13 – when Nora Porteous imagines what it would look like if her feet inscribed trails as she walked around her suburb. All of the trails looping and crossing over one another over the years until it's impossible to trace a single journey, and eventually the roads and paddocks and sports fields are thick and dark with ink.
Cycled to work. The heat! The heat. I simply refuse to stop mentioning it.
Cycled to a party, then cycled to another party, then cycled home near midnight. Even when you have had a great time at a party, even when you want to stay at the party, there is something so free and freeing about riding away from that party. So I was really enjoying riding along until, five minutes in, on Tinakori Rd, my front light died. I charged it only yesterday but this is a needy light, needier every day. Got off the road and went very slowly along the footpaths. This was workable. But then I reached Highbury and was plunged into proper darkness. Got off and walked, in – I was going to say defeat, but no! Just got off and walked in the dark.