Life choices

From the moment we wake up from our deep slumber, to the time we crawl back into our well made bed after a long day, we are forced to make multiple choices.

Some of these daily choices are as simple as what to have for breakfast. And for most people this choice is rather simple. Breakfast can be toast, cereal or just coffee. Personally, I get by with coffee until lunchtime, so I have one less choice to make. Then there is the tougher choice. What do we wear for the day? Jeans and tshirt work for me most days, but that’s not for everyone.

But these choices, as tough as we think they are, pale in comparison to some other choices we are faced with, and the descion we make can impact our lives, and the lives of people around us.

So as I sit here in the hospital waiting room once again in preparation for another operation, I need to make a very tough choice once I have fully recovered. Do I go back to road cycling and possibly be collected by another car, and this time, not live to tell that tale. Or do I stay on the bike path tracks and trails?

I keep getting told how truly lucky i am that I lived through a cycling accident involving a car and my carbon fiber road bike. I guess luck did play a part, and there was also lots of bad luck. But that’s in the past and I try not to dwell on it. Well, at least most of the time I don’t.

Once I recover from this operation, I need to think long abd hard if I will continue road cycling, or head back to riding tracks and trails to stay away from cars. Trucks and buses.

I know many people will say the choice is simple, get off the roads as it’s so much safer. Yes, in some ways it is, less cars and trucks and no angry cyclist hating motorists to hurl abuse and other objects at me as I ride past them.

But riding tracks and trails takes away part of the freedom road cycling offers. If I wanted to head north at a set of lights I could, or I could go whichever way I felt like heading.

On a bike trail, the options are fewer, so part of the freedom is taken away. Not that i can’t use different paths to ride on, it just takes away the one thing road bike had always offered me. Complete freedom.

In the past few months I have ridden some glorious tracks and trails. Some were easy, and in the last week i have discovered some tracks that have left me gasping for breath half way up. That’s all part of cycling.

After the operation I will have time to contemplate my future cycling routes. But right now, that seems like an eternity away.

Good to be alive

Perhaps it’s the cold morning air, or the way the wind rushes past my partially frozen face that makes me feel so alive. Or it could be the fact my heart is racing due to the pedal power involved in heading up the very first hill before i hit the dirt trail, where the track levels out and i can cruise along for a few hours at a reasonable pace without the interruptions of passing cars, trucks and busses.

It really doesn’t matter what it is that’s making me feel so alive. It’s the mere fact I am alive, and am still able to get on the bike and head out to destinations unknown. And if not a destination unknown, a very familiar track, like an old friend, waiting with open arms to take me back. No questions asked.

And that’s what we all need in our lives, that friend that will welcome us back with a tight hug and a warm smile. No matter how many miles have passed, No questions asked, as no answer is needed. Just knowing that all is good in the world, at least for that moment in time when sharing a coffee, and a laugh.

I would hate to try and live life without someone close to share a laugh, or to unload my thoughts, fears and even my tears with. Oh, and for me, life without coffee would make the world a much harder place to live, but not impossible. There is always a cuppa tea.

Cronuts, cycling and friendship 

After not having been on a bike for over 9 months,it was time to test the waters and hit a track to see how my mind and body would cope.

So when it came to going off road and getting down and dirty on the Warby trail, there was only one person who I wanted to be by my side as I took the first few turns of the pedals of my trusty Giant mountain bike.



On the day of the ride and waking up much earlier than really required, I checked and then rechecked my gear and then my bike. A few butterflies fluttered in my stomach, but not as bad as I expected.

So once at the start of the track, I slipped on my gloves and put on my helmet and took off with my bro right by my side.


I guess it’s true what they say that you never forget how to ride a bike. It was easy as I  turned the pedals over and the track quickly became a familiar friend.

We chatted and laughed and whatever nerves I had were left at the start of the track. Still some apprehension, but nothing that was going to stop me from enjoying my return to the bike and the scenery it revealed.



With the sun on our backs and a light breeze cutting across us, the distance wasn’t an issue, and neither was my fitness, at least for the first part of the ride.

The return trip was a little tougher on the body, but as we decided to stop off for a coffee and cronut with 10kms from the starting point, I had enough sugar in my body to get me over the line.



Could have I completed the my return ride without my bro by my side? I honestly don’t know. But what I do know is that he would have been by my side whenever I decided to take the plunge back onto the world of cycling.



As miserable as 2017 has been, there were a few happy moments. This was one moment that will stay with me for my remaining days. Not because I got back on the bike, or that i managed to clock up 30 plus kms, but the friendship that helped me get through a dark time for me.


The ride cost nothing, just time spent together. Money can’t buy happiness, but a friendship is worth millions.



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