Eyelash cycling

I’m going to rebrand this blog (not that there is much of a brand here to begin with) as a cycling blog. It will just be brief notes about my cycle commute each day. It’s going to be boring, everyone, but maybe something exciting will happen, like maybe I will have a terrible accident! Please like and subscribe.

I’ve been wondering what it means to keep riding a push bike in a world of e-bikes, especially when I live in such a hilly place. Every day on the bike is a struggle and it could be so much less of a struggle if only I would just get an e-bike, like the man down the road says every time I slog past. And I could go deep into my savings and buy one. What I’m saying is that an e-bike is probably inevitable, so I want to keep a record of these last days of riding an ordinary bike every day when, more and more, it feels slightly silly and unnecessary, or like I’m making a statement. I do have a slight prejudice against e-bikes – I think they’re ugly and the people riding them look like nerds – but there is no political statement.

In some ways, as well as a record of my commute, this will also be a record of my increasing irritation at people telling me to buy an e-bike, and it will be a record of my shame and belligerence and slow progress towards acceptance when I do finally make the decision to get one.

Notes on my bike: it is a blue Surly Disc Trucker and it feels nice and comfortable because I recently got it properly fitted and got lots of parts replaced after years of neglect. I have a couple of panniers for lugging stuff around. I don’t wear hi-vis but have good lights and some reflective bits. I don’t wear rain pants. Sometimes I wear lycra pants but mostly ordinary pants or shorts.


Rode to work. My morning ride only takes 15–20 minutes, but I often opt to go the long way, up Raroa Rd, to get a hill in.

Rode home. It’s about 20 minutes, 25 if I’m feeling slow. Riding home is almost always more stressful traffic-wise, and it’s much hillier, but there is a lovely bit when I’m just about home, which is all a steep downhill. I am careful to go slow in case a cat leaps out of the bushes nearby, which happens sometimes.


Rode to work. Two close passes on Raroa. It’s so weird to me how some drivers seem to thrive on chaos, blasting past me on blind corners and desperately narrow roads, right into oncoming traffic.

After work, rode into town for an event. Rode home, slightly boozed, at about 7:30. First night ride of the week. I love riding at night because the roads are quiet and I’m not holding anyone up, and it gives me a chance to metabolise anything that happened during the night. I’ve started riding on the footpath up lower Raroa towards Mt Pleasant Rd, which is against the law but I don’t care; I’ve had too many close calls with drivers up there.


Rode to work. Uneventful. I love an uneventful ride.

Rode home after work and was freezing cold because I forgot a jacket and gloves. I hate the ride home, especially around Kelburn, because of the traffic. I’ll try not to repeat this too much, but many drivers seem to be insane. I’m sure they’re perfectly nice normal people when they are just walking around.


Rode to work. Even though I ride it almost every day by choice, Raroa Rd is on my list of Worst Roads to Cycle Up (my others so far are Thorndon Quay, Wallace St, Adelaide Rd, Aro St, the Terrace).

During the day I rode into town to get a haircut and pick up 15 packets of tea which I bought online in a frenzy that I can’t explain now. Rode back up the Terrace to Kelburn. Vicious southerly gale. The Terrace is a Worst Road because it is narrow, noisy, fast.

After work, rode into town to a book launch. Rode from the book launch to the after-party.

Rode home after the after-party, at about 9:30pm, with a bunch of flowers in my bag. Dame Gaylene Preston gave them to me as a thank you for editing her book. Someone from the Film Commission generously offered to let me park my bike in the Film Commission foyer overnight, but I didn’t want to be a hassle, and I knew I would be glad to have my bike in the morning. The ride home was a huge slog as I was bone tired but it was only about 30 minutes all up. The last 5 minutes or so, up Mt Pleasant Rd, are achingly slow. My lungs feel like they haven’t quite been as good since getting Covid back in March. The flowers suffered more than me though.


Rode to work. A bus was coming round a tight corner and the driver saw me, and must have seen that there was no room for both of us, but he didn’t stop to give me time to get out of the way. I leapt off my bike and scrambled onto the footpath just in time as the bus ploughed past. I did exasperated Larry David hands at the driver.

Left bike at work. Walked into town to meet friends. Afterwards, had an incredible bus experience: walked to the bus stop and the bus was only 4 minutes away. I sat down and the bus came along. I couldn’t believe it. I got on. I think it was maybe the best bus ride I have had this year.

About ashleighlou

Person, usually on bike
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Eyelash cycling

  1. Linda Burgess says:

    I love this. As I always do when something is by you. Linda Burgess 12 Northland Road Wellington 6012. Tel 04 2131 714, 021 168 7870

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heather Petryna says:

    As always, a joy to read!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sabine says:

    As I am about to travel to Wellington and have already organised an e-bike for the duration of my stay as a visiting granny (hence the e-bike) this is a joy to read. Please, please keep it up , cycling, and write about it.

    I noticed you never mentioned the wind though.
    I have cycled all my life, on four continents, as a means to get to school, uni, work, for pleasure, on holidays, to hospital, with a baby and later a toddler sitting behind me, I do not own any special gear, I cycle wearing what I am wearing and if it’s a skirt that could get caught in the wheels, I bunch it up with a clothes peg between my legs. I realise that MAMILs (middle aged men in lycra) see this as a sacrilege.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patrick Morgan says:

    “Raroa Rd is on my list of Worst Roads to Cycle Up (my others so far are Thorndon Quay, Wallace St, Adelaide Rd, Aro St, the Terrace).”
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. In the olden days Raroa was where i discovered the joy and not- joy of biking.
    Good news. Raroa, Aro, Adelaide and Thorndon Quay will all get bike lanes soon, if the Council holds its nerve.
    We deserve safe and pleasant streets.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. David Clarke says:

    I have lived on Mt Pleasant Road in a one bedroom flat under a house with my mountain bike. A family of mice once climbed my bike to access whatever had been discarded in the bottom of a mostly empty kitchen bin and then been unable to climb out. I had no idea how to deal with the situation so I just cast them all out into the night.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s