Monday, August 29, 2011


I'm a novice rider, so novice in fact that my white tyres on my road bike are still almost white.  And I like them that way.  But as I'm need to be able to ride 70kms by February (maybe in the dark and with sore legs from my previous days 35km run - but I promised I wasn't going to mention it), my tyres need to be black from many, many kilometres of riding I'll need to do between now and then.  I'm a little bit terrified of my skinny tyres and the fact my feet are trapped in the vice-like grip of my cleets.  Thankfully I've had my "fall" - I was almost stationary but my bum, shoulder and pride were hurt all the same.  However under the careful tutoring of my lovely-triathlete-uber-fit friend who needed a riding buddy, I've started blowing the cobwebs off the bike and heading out with her.  I think she thought we'd be riding together and that I wouldn't be a distant figure puffing along miles behind her (in fact she put her brakes on to slow down for me so we could catch up for 20 seconds of chatting before she had to take off again).  Fact is I am eternally grateful for the encouragement and have ventured out for a couple of rides on my own.
But I still have much to learn about bike etiquette.
For example, I flatly refuse to ride in the side strips on the road - look closely and you'll see that they are fill of glass and pot holes and dead blotted road kill, and general crap that heightens the chances of falling off your bike - a lot.  So I see the side strips as a risk I just don't need to take.  But what happens as I ride along somewhere between the side of the road and the white lines in the middle, is that I think I have become (ahem) road hog.  Guilty.  I know this as I often hear somewhere in the back of my subconscious, the rumbling and impatience of cars idling behind me, and when they find a gap wide enough to overtake, they take off like scalded cats, revving their engines ferociously, in what I like to imagine as a "have a nice day" kind of farewell.

The other day I was coming up to a lights, I'm trying to create that very-professional-biker look of kind of sitting stationery on your bike at the lights without needing to take your foots off the pedals, so I can take off in the blink of a eye once the lights change (actually more because I hate getting my feet in and out of the pedals).  Except this day I was kind of wavering all over the lane I had decided to own.  I looked behind me to see a fellow cyclist (if you want to know where all the lean looking men in the their late 30's-40's who look good in lycra are mid morning on a Wednesday, they are generally somewhere on the Northern beaches of Sydney on their bikes.)  Anyhow, fit looking mid 30's-40's man in lycra was idling behind me, he could see me looking at him.  I was imagining myself as a courteous road savvy cyclist - aware of my surroundings.  I imagine I looked more like a mid 40's housewife on a bike in fat enhancing lycra, wavering dangerously all over the lane.  "What way are you going?  Left or right?"- he called out to me. "D'ur", I thought, there is no right turn, nor left, what was he on about?
"I'm going straight ahead" I called out to him, and I swore when the lights turned and he zoomed past me, there was a discernible shake of his head.
Only a few moments up the road, I realised he meant which side of the lane was I going to sit on, the right or the left?  Fail.  Gormless fail.

I have much to learn about this new world of cycling.

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