Sliding Doors

We are all aware of the ‘sliding doors’ scenario. As one opportunity is missed, another one takes its place. Sometimes for better, and other times for the worse. But no matter what choices we make, we will end up where we were meant to be.

This was the case on the day of my cycling accident, it could have ended up much differently had I made other choices on my first 25 kms of the ride.

As I headed towards Safety Beach, I slipped in behind another cyclist who was moving a few kms quicker than my normal pace, but I decided i should try and keep up with him for as long as possible and increase my stamina.

Sitting in his slipstream for 5 or so kms, I thought to myself this could be one of my quicker rides of the year. But as we approached a street heading up towards Arthur’s Seat, he turned into the street and I decided to continue with my original plan and do the hill climb of Arthur’s Seat the next day. Had I followed him, it might have been an entirely different ride, and a possibly a very different outcome to my day.

So I continued on solo for a while before turning back and setting my sights on Point Nepean. 60 kms away with a light headwind and the sun shining in the blue sky. A perfect day for a ride I kept telling myself.


As I looked ahead, I saw the set of lights change to amber, and instead of braking hard, I cruised through and continued on my merry way without a problem.

Looking back at the day, either one of those sliding door moments would have made a huge difference to my unhappy ending. Or would they have made no difference at all?

Would I have been injured on another part of my ride that day? Coming back down Arthur’s Seat at a breakneck speed. Or would have I gotten away without an injury? It’s hard to know which would have been the case, but what happened on that day, happened for a reason.

A reason I’m still unsure about, but one that didn’t leave me lying dead on the side of the road that morning. And for that I’m still very thankful. Even though it’s been a long and tough journey to recovery, I am hoping it will worthwhile in the long run, not just for me, but for my family and friends.

In the end, we will be where we are meant to be, no matter the twists, turns and tumbles we take.

Enjoy the journey with friends, family and loved ones. As the destination has been set. Life is too short for regrets.

Are we afraid to be alone?

With so many ways to stay in touch with people, we are never more than the click of a button or a dial of a number to communicate with a friend, locally or internationally.
But even with so many friends, there are times when we feel so alone. No matter where we are or who is around us. It’s a state of mind.

There is nothing wrong with feeling afraid in times of solitude, it makes us human. And human frailty is what defines us in this world. 

It’s ok to be afraid to be alone. But don’t let that fear stop you from making the most of that time. Sit back, relax and take the time the see what’s really happening in your own little world. You will be surprised at what you discover about yourself, and others. 

Chapters Of Our Lives

Sitting in the kitchen and enjoying my morning cup of coffee, I sat quietly, staring out the window and into vacant space.

The radio, tuned to my favourite station, one which played classic tracks from the 80s. The era in which I cut my teeth on in my musical taste. And the music I still listen to whenever I can. On the bike, exercising, or just chilling out.

So as Khe Sanh by Cold Chisel started playing, it very quickly took me back to some of the best years of my younger days. The days and nights were filled with mates, music, booze and friendships that would forever be remembered.

And that’s exactly what I have from those days. Memories. Great memories to be honest.

But as the song faded and came to an end, I felt a tiny string tugging at my heart, making me yearn for years gone by. Memories of love, laughter, success and failure. All good, and bad.

There is no way to get those years back, they are gone, but not forgotten. Never forgotten.

So as life continues to roll on, it’s natural for us to change, to see things differently than we did, not only when we were young and wild, but also the more current years that have slipped by. Some of those years we noticed, and others seemed to meld into one another. Blurred lines.

And with change in our lives, we begin to see things differently. Not in a bad light, just different. We also begin to question if we are where we want to be at that very point.

Our life starts as a blank book, every paragraph, a moment in our lives. Paragraphs become pages, and pages, eventually become chapters.

Each chapter of our lives defines us, and we need to ensure the next chapter is the one we truly want. If we aren’t true to ourselves, our book will never be the one we really wanted to write.

Become the writer of your true self, we all deserve a happy ending and a journry to be enjoyed.

No Promises

There are some promises that are easy to keep, such as, I promise to mow the lawns this weekend, or I promise to fix blocked gutters before it rains again.

Then there are other promises that are more difficult to keep, no matter how hard you try.

One of my promises to my wife was that I would ride safe and be careful every time I went out on the road bike. Rain, blowing winds and sunny days, I would tell her the same thing as she lay in bed and I ventured off for my morning rides.


This was one promise I broke sometime in mid March 2017. My intentions were good and my years on the bike made no difference at all on this bright and sunny Saturday morning along the Melbourne peninsula. My lights were flashing and I was wearing my multicoloured cycling outfit. But still, a broken promise.

Having been on the road for close to an hour, I knew my halfway point for my outing. There was a slight headwind as I headed towards Point Nepean, and I was pushing myself harder than normal. It must have been the fantastic conditions, and I was out on my own and nothing but 80s music streaming through my headphones and a clear mind.

In a split second, my entire life was about to take a tumble for the worse. But it could have been far more serious. So I consider myself extremely lucky. And I was given a lifeline. 

A car coming in the opposite direction performed an illegal turn in front of me. Obviously not having seen me. And I’m not what one would consider a small unit.

With less than a split second to do something. I did the obvious. I hit his front side guard at over 30 kilometres per hour.

The first and only thing that went through my mind was, it’s over. Goodbye!

I flipped over his hood, landing on my arse and then ploughed into his windscreen, shattering it into thousands of pieces with my shoulder. And my journey continued I somersaulted over his car, as I watched my glasses and iPhone fly well ahead of me.

Landing on the ground more than 12 feet away from his car, I later discovered I broke my back. My L4 to be exact. And in thst split second, my life had changed. Forever!


Pain filled every fibre of my body, but for some unknown reason, I was still able to move my arms and legs. A positive sign I thought as I screamed in pain as I was surrounded by some very helpful and concerned bystanders.

The ambulance trip to the Frankston hospital was one without all that much pain, but I would have to say the morphine in my system had a lot to do with that fact.

The next few hours with my wife beside me at the Frankston hospital and then at the Alfred hospital trauma centre were good, bad, anxious, concerning, and the scariest hours of my life.

I was eventually told I had a broken back, but signs were positive because I was able to move my arms and legs. No internal or neauralogical damage, so another positive sign.

After leaving the hospital five days later, and in a very uncomfortable back brace I was to wear for the following 12 weeks. In some desperate hope my back would heal on its own and no surgery would be required.

With all the damage I had suffered, I was extremely lucky not to have injured any of my spinal nerves and no other nerves impacted. I only have God to thank for that. And not having died on the side of the road was something I still look back at and wonder why?

The following 12 weeks were filled with some of the lowest points in my life. Not just the pain, but the not knowing how and if I would fully recover. And at the lowest point, if I really wanted to continue. I knew deep down I had to abandon all fear if I was to make it through.

With the help and support of family and friends, I struggled through and continued to make progress. First getting out of bed without assistance, and eventually able to walk to my letterbox.

I have to admit ut did get a little easier the more I moved. I ended up going on 5 kilometre walks as the weeks dragged by. My only outings were visits to surgeons and physiotherapists.

The long road of rehabilitation lays ahead of me, 6-12 months I’ve been told before I’m back to the condition I was in before the accident.

In the end, what got me through was love and friendship. And lots of pain medication.

My Scott carbon fibre bike was written off, but I still have my Avanti, which is patiently waiting for me to decide on my path forward.


As for the path after rehabilitation, do I go back to the one sport I loved with a passion, or do I take up stamp collecting, as suggested by my brother.


Whatever I decide, I have honestly found that love and friendship conquers all, physical and mental pain.

No Promises – Icehouse

Bourbon and Memories 


Some people drink to remember, some drink to forget.

No matter what the reason, it may help the state of ones mind. And memories are very powerful and stubborn things we try to either erase, or recapture.

Personally, I have some memories I want completely erased from my mind. Gone and never to see the light of day ever again. But in many other ways, those very same memories are what made me the very person I am today. They are the driving force that keep me going, day in, and day out.

Eventually the memories will fade, but the scars they leave embedded deep within our minds will forever remain, not physically, but mentally. And the only person who can control them, and not let them take over my life, is the person who owns those memories.

It may not be a simple matter of having a few bourbons and erasing a few brain cells in the hope they are the ones containing dark memories. But we know those memories are with us for life.


The scars we carry in our minds are for us alone to manage. If we feel the need, or want, to share them with others, then that’s our choice. And if we want to keep those memories hidden in the darkest recesses of our minds, then that is where they will remain.

Ben Harper – When it’s good 

My First Bike – Childhood Memories

There are so many childhood memories that involve bikes and cycling, and they always manage to put a smile on my dial when I think back to those days of freedom, and yes, some stupidity. Being young and stupid has advantages, now, I really don’t have an excuse, but I still manage to pull of some not so smart moves on the bike.

My first childhood memory of a bike of any type was the one I owned when I was 4 years old. It was sent over from Italy for my birthday, and had to be assembled by my father and an uncle. I’m sure this wasn’t the easiest of tasks, but at least the instructions would have been in Italian, and not written by the people who write install manuals for IKEA.

It was bright red, had a set of trainer wheels, which only stayed on for a very short time, a few weeks was all I needed before I was on two wheels. There were colourful ribbons streaming out from both the hand grips, and both the wheels had bright reflectors attached to the spokes.

It seemed as if I had found my passion in sports at a very young age. Even though I never raced for a team, I eventually participated in a number of long distance events for charity. For me, in the end, that small bike with trainer wheels was life changing, and in more ways that I could ever imagine.

My recollections of that bike in the first few days, are still clear in my mind, I rode up and down the sideway of our property in the burbs. Up and down in a straight line, and when I reached the end of the sideway, I would get off the bike, turn it around, get back on and pedal back down to the start I did this over and over until I got the hang of turning around in the tight space at both ends.

Once I had mastered the straight line riding, my father added a set of obstacles along the sideway for me to navigate around. This took me more time than I would have thought. But then, I was a four year old child.

Without the training wheels, I was able to zip around the obstacles in a few short weeks. Much to my parents delight. I now had a way of keeping myself amused for hours on end and on my own. No need for daytime TV.

I was eventually allowed to go out onto the streets and down the road to visit my aunt, who lived no more than 15 houses down the street. It was still an adventure, no matter the distance.

The bike gave me something I didn’t have much of; freedom. It allowed me to go places further than the wheels allowed. It set off my imagination and transported me to any destination my mind permitted.

I hung onto that bike for  number of years until I had well and truly grown out of it, and it wasn’t long before I had a bigger bike. One that was purchased from a local shop just down the road. And with that bike, the real adventures began with my friends in the street. But those are stories for another time.

Some memories stay with us until the day we die, for one reason or another. Some are good, and some are bad. We need to treasure the memories that continue to make us smile as the days go by. Because in the end, all we will have are memories.

 

The Road Less Traveled

With another ride all planned out for the day, I headed down the peninsula and towards a ride that always makes me wonder why I keep attempting it on a regular basis. Arthur’s Seat is a 4.5 km ride that ensures my legs are screaming for mercy, half way up. It’s at that point I keep asking myself. Why?

The reason I keep pushing myself up the hill is for the views from the top, and they are spectacular. No matter what the weather, rain or shine, the pain from the ride always seems worthwhile. Well, in my mind it seems worth the effort.

 

So on this particular ride, I decided to take an alternate route home, one which I had only ridden once, and it was with another rider who knew the area like the back of his hand. With a certain clarity, I headed down the back roads that I thought would eventually take me back to the main road and to some semi flat tracks.

The trip back down should have taken no longer than 15 minutes, so when I was still riding along a road that didn’t look very familiar, I did what most men would do, keep going until a sign post came by to look for further directions.

I knew I was well off the beaten track after another 45 minutes, but the views on both sides of the road were well worth the pedal power, and the roads were all rolling  hills, so I assumed the remainder of the trip home would have similar gradients. How wrong could I have been?

After finally finding a road name that was very familiar, I headed in the direction of home, having already been out on the road for over 90 minutes, so I estimated another 60 minutes on the road. Another bad judgment call.

The next two hours saw me riding through some of the toughest and longest hills I had cycled through in a long while.  With every turn, the road continued to climb higher and my legs screamed for a break. I finally gave my legs a rest after an hour of climbing, and could only wonder how much further I had to ride before I arrived at a section of flat road.

As I rested for a few minutes, I noticed another cyclist coming up the hill, struggling a lot less than I had been. I waved him down and asked how far back to the main road.

About another 20 kms, and some decent climbing still to come he said as he waved goodbye and continued onward.

Feeling my heart sink a little,and with no other option but to go forward, I got back on the bike and peddled for another hour before I finally hit the main road. By that stage, I was tired, sore and cursing my lack of direction.  But, I had been on an adventure for the day, one I would not forget in a hurry, and neither would my aching legs.

The pain stayed with me until the next day when I headed out for a ride on some more familiar and flatter roads. No harm in mixing up my rides.

My feelings on that morning are summed up in the Talking Heads song. 

Road to Nowhere