First published: April 2007
I am still not totally convinced about this getting up at Ungodly Hours to go bike riding thing. I think I will probably always mutter away to myself, shaking my head as I stumble to the bathroom, and fumble for my bike clothes. For one thing it’s still dark, and now that we are mid autumn, it’s actually getting a tad cool. All relative, I know, but cool is cool, ok! A thermal (polypropolene) top under my bike jersey wasn’t enough to keep me warm in the house, so hopping on the bike at 5.45am just as it is getting light, and cold morning air (around 11 degrees) plus moving through said air at 20-30 kph bringing in to play something called wind chill factor.. well it didn’t seem like the most sane thing to be doing right then. Bit of cursing happening from the back of the bike and I kept telling myself “it’s ok, you know, you could go back to bed some time during the day – as a reward for THIS”. …hmmm, how decadent would that be?!)
A few k’s down the highway I warmed up enough – one of the advantages of being on the back of a tandem. My fingers were tingly warm, but Marc’s were still freezing. (Another term for tandem captain is ‘Windbreak’). We didn’t take our thermals off the whole time, despite riding up 3km of winding road in the morning sun. (After that there was more downhill through shady bits, and our toes got even colder!) We have a new cluster on that tandem too, with a higher and lower gear (same amount of gears, just spread out), and so we could really belt down the hills (higher wind chill factor?!) and we could wind up the steeper bits with the low gear. The speed we can get up to on the downhill is a hoot, and beating our single bike friend UP the hill today was also quite satisfying, given tandems are usually overtaken by singles going up. (We won’t mention the fact that he hasn’t been on his bike for about 6 weeks!)
Of course by the time I got home I felt oh so virtuous for having ridden around 40km before the time I normally drag my butt out of bed. This morning that clammy feeling you get from sweating when it’s cool stayed with me even through my hot shower; I threw on long tracky pants, and a polar fleece top, got a cup of coffee and sat on the back doorstep worshipping the sun. Certainly marks the transition from summer to winter when you’re seeking the sun instead of avoiding it.
The younger two kids were up when we got home at 7.35 – (fairly normal) – and I had to wake Her Highness (also normal). Everyone was packed and ready to go with heaps of time to catch their respective buses – it all felt so .. civilised! So I suppose, other than the ‘cold’, and the insane wake up time, I therefore have no reason to knock back the suggestion that we do it again on Wednesday morning. Iron uniforms the night before, and it’s all quite doable.
So, theoretically, I am feeling energised! And ready to attack a range of domestic chores today. Hey ho.
Or I could sit here and look online for long sleeved cycling jerseys and long leg nix. It’s only going to get colder before it gets warm again, and if we’re stupid enough to be doing this early morning riding thing we need to not get hypothermia from it!
It looks like we’re getting even more serious about this bike riding. Marc took my desire to get a single road bike seriously and spent a lot of time on Saturday and Sunday researching women’s road bikes online, and then asking me difficult questions that I didn’t know the answer to. I’ve had to mull over whether I want to ride drops, or to get a flat bar style. A women’s frame? we think yes, for optimum position and comfort. And a whole heap of other bike-techo stuff, like carbon forks, carbon seat posts, and the ‘level’ of gear brand – ranging from base, through ok, good, to heaps good, but ridiculously expensive. Womens’ road bikes are harder to come by second hand, so we are looking new for me, while he has decided on a mens road bike on ebay. It will be a pick up in Brisbane, so he’s decided we find a bike shop in Brisbane to buy my bike. (He’s found one online as well where they will meet you on Sundays by appointment – a Sunday being the only day we would have to drive to Brissy and back – and all their testimonials say they spend a lot of time helping you set up the bike to the right ‘fit’.) I am a bit freaked by the price; what if I don’t like it, or I am not good at it?
I suppose, like anything, you usually don’t realise what you can do till you try.