Today is my final day as a 33yo. Tomorrow I will have to accept that I am going to be in my mid-30s. What? 33 is still early 30s. Haha.
I’m actually not one of those people who are phased by age. But I do like birthdays. Mostly because I am so glad to be alive. And also because I still like getting presents 😉
This year, my partner bought me some bikepacking gear for my birthday (if you are in Australia and haven’t already done so, check out Bike Bag Dude). I got it early so have been using it already. I totally love it. Having my bike carry my gear makes commuting a breeze. I hate arriving at work with sweaty back and underarms from carrying a backpack, so having the seat post bag totally changes everything. I also hate my lunch getting squashed, so having a chaff bag allows me to separate my food from heavy gear or clothes.
Tomorrow is my birthday. I would love to spend it outdoors doing something totally crazy. But instead I am going to indulge in my second love: the movies. My partner and I are going to see a movie in the morning (We’re the Millers), then going to lunch before returning to the cinema to watch a second movie (Paranoia). I once went to the movies 5 times in 7 days and it was one of the best weeks of my life, so this will come close to being one of the best days.
I am sure that a whole day of popcorn and cinematic joy is an important part of my training regime 😉
Total: 30km cycle commute (once I get home)
My commute isn’t long. It’s only about 15km, which is just under 10 miles. I used to find the commute to work boring because the main roads are so heavily trafficked during peak hour. But, since Cycling for Hope, I have realised that I don’t have to be restricted to taking the most direct route to work. Actually, I don’t have to be restricted to anything anymore when it comes to cycling.
Add to that the inspiration I am drawing from bikepacking blogs, and particularly those of people who were training to ride the Big HURT, and I have found a mix for spicing up my commute. Besides, I’m training to ride the Tasmanian Trail later this year so I need to get some off-road practice.
Instead of heading directly to work, I swing around the block and hike-a-bike through a short section of bush to ride the gravel road in this photo. Then, I ride down the verge alongside the road, battling long grass, holes, rocks and small jumps. I round the ride out with about 5km of footpath riding because it makes me feel like I am on holidays.
What’s your commute look like?
Total: About 30km commute by the time I get home.
With the sudden transition from winter to summer that we experience here, mornings are often punctuated by low-lying fog. This morning, after riding my MTB through the bush to Mum’s house, she and I went on a road ride through said fog. It was a beautiful way to start the day.
Scene from my commute
After leaving Mum at the start of her street, I continued on to work. The new bikepacking gear worked really well on the road bike and will save me carrying a backpack when I cycle commute. Importantly for my colleagues, the bun loaf I bought for our morning tea fit in the seat post bag without getting squashed.
Total: 7.5km MTB + 51km road ride (including my commute home tonight)
I had university classes last night so didn’t get a chance to go riding. I found myself rather sad, like a love-sick teenager missing my girl. So it was with great excitement that I got out this morning to cycle commute.
It’s strange to find this rekindling of love for moving on two wheels. I used to feel this excitement and passion in my twenties, and feeling it again is fantastic.
Today’s commute will be about 30km in total (I broke the cycle computer on my MTB). Instead of riding on the road, I have been playing on the grassy verges and off-road concrete cycle paths. It’s good training for my Tasmanian Trail trip in December.
Total: 30km cycle commute
One of the best things to come out of Cycling for Hope is a renewed sense of comfort and joy in cycling. And one of the best things about Cycling for Hope being over is that I can play on the bike without worrying about having to stay out on the road for 100km.
This morning I wanted to get out to play. But I didn’t want to get up early or ride in darkness. So I added a couple of kilometers to my morning commute by riding some short sections of trail. I continued my playfulness by cycling on the wide grassy verges alongside the road instead of cruising the bitumen. Sure, I did have to ride the concrete for a little while but I still got a good half hour of play into my ride.
Tonight I’ll ride home. Maybe I’ll play some more because it will get me off the main roads during the dangers of dusk.
Total: 30km commute (including tonight’s return ride)
I was going to rest this week. But after two days of inactivity I felt totally lost and restless. So this morning I jumped my my 29er (which I didn’t ride during Cycling for Hope) and rode the scenic route to work down the gravel road and then along some footpaths.
It felt so good to be on the bike. This is the bike I’m taking to Tasmania later this year when I ride the Tasmanian Trail so I was excited to give it a burn after riding the roadie for the past 31 days.
Total: 30km commute
I finally managed to sort my schedule out today so that I could ride the Purple Monster to work. It was such a joy to cycle to work after riding my motorbike the past couple of weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I love love love riding my motorbike. But I have missed my treadly.
Nothing exciting happened on my ride and I left my mobile phone at home so couldn’t take any photos. But the cool air and exercise was a great way to start the day. I just have to remember that joy tonight when I ride home at 9pm after my Justice of the Peace volunteering commitments are over. Though I’m sure that it will be a nice way to wind down after sitting in the shopping centre for two hours signing documents.
While cycling to work, I decided to withdraw from the 25 May rogaine that my team mate can’t come to and to enter a 400km Audax cycling event instead. I’ve never attempted a 400km ride before but managed to complete the Oppy in March so I’m sure I’ll be fine. I rode the 366km of the Oppy in 24 hours with a sleep stop and the cut off for the 400km is 27 hours so it’s mathematically possible for me to make it.
Total: 29km cycle commute to and from work
Riding to work
Blue skies! Hooray! I jump out of bed, load up the Purple Monster and set off down the road to work. Well, sure, I actually didn’t just go from jumping out of bed to leaving for work. There was a period in between during which I pottered around making breakfast and watching some television. But, that just doesn’t sound as good as saying that I jumped out of bed and hit the road.
Waiting for the lights
I have recently discovered the joys of Instagram and have been going crazy trying out all the different photo formats. What I really like about the app is that it’s making me see simple things in a whole new light. For example, who would have thought that avoiding a dangerous roundabout by crossing the road on a bike path would have been interesting. But with Instagram I was able to see the process for the uniquely cycling experience that it is. And check out all those bright colours that make up our every day world – you don’t have to travel thousands of miles from home to be bedazzled.
The wheels keep spinning
I had a university class last night so was able to enjoy the late afternoon daylight hours on my bike. Usually, I don’t leave work until about 5:30pm, which means I do a lot of my commuting in the dark from March through to November. But yesterday I had an excuse to leave just around 3:30pm to enjoy a leisurely cruise up the V1 cycleway to my university campus. Sure, I had to ride about 10km of the 21km ride on roads but I prefer to focus on the cycleway experience. I just love how it feels to see and feel my wheels spinning away on paths designed specifically for us cyclists.
Riding to university
Did I mention yet that I finally bought myself a new jersey? You might have noticed that I’m always wearing the same jersey in all my photos. I actually have two that are the same. I now have a third jersey that I picked up for the bargain basement price of $15 (yes, that’s not a typo) because it was slightly soiled (it has a small blue dot on the back). And boy is it comfortable. Perhaps that’s why I had a big smile on my face in this selfie.
Lights reflecting on wet bikeway
As my university class came to an end, around 7:30pm, I looked out the window to see flashes of lightning followed by crashes of thunder. It was all being washed down by big heavy rain drops. In the past, I would have simply phoned home and grovelled to my partner for a lift home. But, as they say, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing choices. I had come prepared so pulled my rain jacket out of my pannier bags, threw a reflective vest over the top and set off to ride 35km (20 miles) in the deluge. Since starting Audax cycling, I have become quite accepting of night riding so it was with great pleasure that I spun my legs as the heavens put on an amazing display of lightning streaks and forks.
What? I was hungry
Hunger took over at 8:30pm when I still had 20km to ride. So I found a Hungry Jacks (Burger King to the rest of the world) and bought junior Whopper and small fries to get me through. I hadn’t eaten a meal since 1pm so fast food never tasted so good.
Total: 66.6km cycle commuting
Like many others, I woke this morning to news of the bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon. As a runner and sportsman, my thoughts today are with all those who have been affected by the cowardly attack.
What do tragedies like this mean for those of us not personally affected? What can we do to honour those who lost their lives today? Here’s my personal list:
- never let the last thing you said to anyone you love be a harsh word
- tell your family you love them
- when you pray for Boston, remember to say a prayer of gratitude that you and yours saw the dawn today
- and, most importantly … LIVE life like the gift it is.
We can never have those we lost back. But we can honour their memories by being true to ourselves and living our lives. When we get up in the morning, let’s remember to ask ourselves three questions:
- If today is my last day, what do I want to be doing?
- If today is my last day, what do I want to be remembered for saying?
- What one positive action can I take today to make tomorrow better for me, my family and my world?
Our answers don’t have to be big. For me, this morning, after I heard the news of Boston, this is what my answers were:
- I want to ride my bicycle. So I rode my bicycle to work and stopped to take a photo along the way, despite it making me arrive at work late.
- I want to be remembered for saying something positive. So I am going to watch my words today.
- My positive action is to tell my partner I love her, to perform my job to the best of my ability and to be happy because happiness is infectious.
The photo I took on my commute to work
No mileage counter today because the miles don’t seem important today. Today is about honouring those we pray for in Boston.
I had to travel about 15km to a doctor appointment this morning. I didn’t even have to think about how I’d get there: by bicycle.
I’ve been following the 30daysofbiking social media feed. It’s been inspiring and reminding me that cycling is all about fun, not training. So, instead of burning money on fuel and getting fat by riding my motorbike, I burned fat and saved money by riding my roadie to my appointment.
After riding the Purple Monster yesterday, my roadie felt so light and speedy this morning. It was fab. And yes, I did use my full complement of gears this morning 🙂
Total: 26.6km road cycle.