Because i’m a cyclist, i will forgive you for thinking this is going to be a whinge post. Titled like that — just: drivers, like all my fellow cyclists will just understand i had a dodgy encounter with a driver today.

Well, today a driver hailed me as i shot through Koondrook on the way to some open roads where i could open up my legs and lungs. First i looked around like a guy who can’t believe the beautiful girl is waving at him. And then i stopped because i thought he might be in trouble — i hadn’t got as far as wondering what i was going to do if he was.

He wasn’t in trouble. He just wanted to chat. He’s a cyclist himself and has been looking to meet other cyclists.

This bloke, an Aussie fella who repairs windshields for a living, must have seen me coming, pulled over onto the shoulder, and hopped out of his car just to hail me down for a chat.

What a legend.

So a bunch of his crew are riding out from the clock tower on Saturday morning at 8:30, which is perfect because i’ve been planning on hitting the road from Barham tomorrow anyway — i’ll camp outside Kerang for the night, and get up ripe and early to go riding with some local crew.


Why i Love Sheldon Brown

The self-described “reformed chain smoker” on the subject of chain maintenance:

Chain maintenance is one of the most controversial aspects of bicycle mechanics. Chain durability is affected by riding style, gear choice, whether the bicycle is ridden in rain or snow, type of soil in the local terrain, type of lubricant, lubrication techniques, and the sizes and condition of the bicycle’s sprockets. Because there are so many variables, it has not been possible to do controlled experiments under real-world conditions. As a result, everybody’s advice about chain maintenance is based on anecdotal “evidence” and experience. Experts disagree on this subject, sometimes bitterly. This is sometimes considered a “religious” matter in the bicycle community, and much vituperative invective has been uttered in this regard between different schismatic cults.

desperate times

in which i discuss pooing and Buddhism with one breath

I just used my hands and a teaspoon to dig a hole in someone’s yard so i could take a dump, like some humanoid-cat-dog hybrid. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I am also sun-drying mushrooms on Massive’s back rack because they began to attract ants and sweat inside their stupid-plastic container. They were already reduced for quick sale. Should i eat them? I don’t know. Dodgy mushrooms have a bad reputation. I was going to make mushroom dhal.

deceptive lead image

deceptive lead image

This experience (the pooing one) is something that i’m proud of when, according to society’s standards of respectability, i should feel ashamed.

I feel proud because a vague reason i’m doing this Berri to Somewhere cycle tour is i knew it would force me to be more resourceful than i generally am. Also, one of my main men, Milan Kundera, convinced me long ago that we need to start talking about poo if we can ever hope to escape a life of kitsch.

I wonder what it says about me that i should feel proud for shitting in someone’s backyard because it makes me feel resourceful. It is a vague consolation for me that part of this experience is also about exploring the idea of “respectability”, which is (sort of, i think) one of the Eight Worldly Concerns described in the Dhammapada and expounded upon at length by Osho.

a case for bicycles

 Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
– H.G. Wells

Einstein, another well-balanced adult

Einstein, another well-balanced adult

I have borrowed my friend’s scooter for a few days and it’s funny, it’s such a piece of junk that twice at the top of two hills i had to jump off and push.

The old Greek men watching me come up the hill toward the café in the village might have found it amusing, but it’s hard to read anything in their listless gaze, which i now attribute to the likelihood they have not ridden a bicycle down that hill, let alone up, since childhood.

Presumably these blokes have observed me a few times riding another friend’s bicycle up the hill toward the village for the last few months, and when i cycle in places where cycling is not really done, i like to flatter myself as a sort of pioneer—riding around Phnom Penh on a fixie was a hoot, the kids loved it, squeezing the rock-hard tires and perhaps wondering why the white guy never stops pedalling.

Aside delusions of grandeur, i just love to cycle—so much so that what i miss most about staying here for nine months longer than intended is Massive, my steely stallion, currently tied up in Dad’s backyard.

But i don’t much feel like expending physical energy the last few days, though it’s fun, jumping off and relieving the poor motor of my weight and running, pushing the thing until it builds up enough speed that i can jump on again, side saddle until it stops again, repeat, and eventually i make it up the hlls i have been cycling up with relative ease these last few months.

And that’s my point, my case for bicycles—our legs are capable of expressing more energy than a small engine, with much less noise and pollution, and with many benefits for our health and well-being.

It hardly needs to be said, but after i saw those Greek men watching me putter up the hill i thought it might be worthwhile to make this case, because if those poor sallow blokes haven’t ridden a bicycle since childhood, at least they might have thought this morning, That weird hippy fella on the scooter would be better off with his bicycle.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Cycling

I was excited about riding with F’s friends, because something I really dig about most of the cycling community is they are inclusive. I mean, it’s also a heavily stratified community where as I explained to C today, there are

people like me who spend three hundred bucks on a single-speed commuter and barely do any maintenance on it for two years but who love the shit out of that bike anyway,

and then there are those who spend twelve k on a bike and spend more time maintaining it than they do riding it,

and of course there are what Mum was thrilled to learn are called MAMILs, Middle-age Men in Lycra.

But within your own strata the community members are all generally inclusive, which is maybe a quality of something being a strata.

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