Yesterday I rode when maybe I shouldn’t have. I was in a filthy mood and had the first symptoms of a cold. While the warning signs of a virus did nothing for my mental state they flashed a warning beacon somewhere in the back of my mind: “If you don’t ride today, you may not ride for a week.” I wasn’t worried about training, or my next big racing adventure with the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com team. It has been a busy month and I was worried about my capacity to think. I was dressed in a matter of seconds, out the door, and rolling along at what I fiercely hoped was a comfortable immune-building pace.
As I rode through the back streets of Sydney, thoughts that had been on a circular rampage began to play out to their logical end. Fragments and words became sentences and ideas. Worries took on perspective and ran out of whatever urgency had fuelled them ‘til then.
I looked around and I savoured the views ahead. Commuter o’clock in this city has become a feast for a bike-lover’s eyes. Packs of fellow riders joined me on the back streets, weaving a path through the morning and beyond. Coloured rims, trendy lids, brightly coloured packs, iPods and the sound of rusting chains. Many a flat-pedalled rider flew past me spinning along in tight, dark jeans. I felt lifted up by their enthusiasm to enjoy the day’s journey and to get to places quick. When riders passed in the opposite direction, it was rare that we didn’t greet each other with a knowing nod and a happy-to-be-here smile.
Then I hit green spaces. I savoured the smells, wound my bike through their twists and turns and took a moment to take in the number of people enjoying the morning as well. I arrived at my destination feeling energised and refreshed. As for the virus, it wasn’t to be beaten and I ended the day standing with my bike on the train. But at least I wasn’t mad any more. I’ve never started a ride angry and finished it feeling the same the way. I think you’ll find a lot of other riders out there who agree.
Photos: Kath Bicknell.