how to change plans and stack your bike like a zen monk

I told you i would change my plans: i am not doing the Quamby loop i wrote about on Friday, because instead i caught up with Max, who i met on the road around Koondrook.

Standing outside the supermarket inhaling a chocolate bar, a woman called Gale approached me and said, “You must have been in town all day — we saw you riding about earlier.”

Indeed, i had spent the afternoon at the library, and was always intending to stay the night somewhere in Kerang to met with Max and his friends by 8:30 the next morning at the clock tower. Talking with Gale about where i might camp the night, it slowly dawned on us that of course i should call Max, so that’s what i did.

Max's remarkable backyward is basically one big vegie garden, with tomatoes growing up out of the bricks and grape vines growing down from out the gutters — paradise

Max’s remarkable backyward is basically one big vegie garden, with tomatoes growing up out of the bricks and grape vines growing down from out the gutters — paradise

That night, sitting around Max’s kitchen table with my tent set up in his vegetable garden, he reckoned there was nothing much worth seeing on the Quamby loop, and that even if i did make it all the way up to Ouyen, it would be a two-day hike through sand if i wanted to get to the pink lakes.

I really want to see the pink lakes, and a two-day hike would not be beyond me if i had the right equipment. Alas, i do not.

So we brainstormed and i decided i would explore another idea i’ve been entertaining for a while: camping outside a town and commuting in to use the library/pub/cafe as my office.

So that’s what i’m doing now, but not before i joined Max and his friends on the long way to and from Barham — a 75km team ride, averaging about 30km an hour.

Such an average is a new personal best for me, but it’s really not a personal best when you achieve something like this in a team.

I bounced at the end, doing burnouts around the clock tower. It was a clean fall and i felt remarkably zen about stacking it into the gutter. After i picked myself up and dusted myself off, it was a chance to feel the body go through its natural response to a mild trauma, shaking and wobbling and generally letting go of the fright — and then, of course, getting straight back in the saddle.

Curiously (and perhaps sadly), stacking my bike makes me feel more alive than most other mundane activities. What a brilliant end to a magical day.

And now i’m at the Exchange Hotel in Kerang, standing up at a perfect-height bench-desk, about to knuckle down on the typesetting i couldn’t finish on Friday, my tent holding the fort down at Lake Merange.

Life’s good.

keeping up with road crew looks easy in a still frame

keeping up with road crew looks easy in a still frame

but this is my wait-for-me face, which i call Come Give me a Sweaty Hug

but this is my wait-for-me face, which i call Come Give me a Sweaty Hug

and this is the view i was blessed with on the way to Lake Meran for a well-earned rest. Wondering why i live this way? Well, this is pretty consistently the view out my window.

and this is the view i was blessed with on the way to Lake Meran for a well-earned rest. Wondering why i live this way? Well, this is pretty consistently the view out my window,

whoop!

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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Street-side Meditation

So at the end of the day I briefly met up with a guy I sort of know and really like called F and we did a five-minute meditation, he and I and his friend Tanya, on this inner-east-end street, this street nearby a swanky private school near where I used to work, on the same corner where a woman and I once accidentally and simultaneously said to each other, “I love you”, which turned out not to be true,

but this meditation was really nice and it was just what I needed after such a hectic day.

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