Cycling week


Against all odds, it’s another Monday morning. Steamed up Raroa in the dark hell of rush hour.

On the ride home from work, in sideways gusty wind, I started thinking about this triathlon I did a few years ago, when it seemed like triathlons might be something I should get into. I was hopeless in the sea swim – fearful of seaweed, other people’s arms and legs, sharks, water – and leaden in the run. But I was good at the cycling leg. I overtook loads of people, which I only mention here because I will take any opportunity to brag about it. But there was something ridiculous about blasting around Miramar Peninsula on a touring bike with rattly mudguards amid all the slick racing bikes and the proper sunglasses that actually stay on your face. I should’ve at least taken the mudguards off, and got cycling glasses, but couldn’t be bothered. I realised that, even if I did train more, hone my race strategy, learn how to ride in clip-on shoes and so on, I would never truly make the leap from trudging commuter to sinewy racer.


No commute to work – my schedule is all over the place this week as a deadline closes in – but a little 20-min loop in the morning, for bread-and-milk reasons.

In the late afternoon/early evening I decided to set out for a Big Ride. Foam-rolled legs, pumped up tyres, slathered sunscreen, and set off to the golf ball on Hawkins Hill. What makes a ride a Big Ride? It’s any ride that happens outside of ordinary life admin. It can’t be a ride that gets you to work or the supermarket or an appointment. The purpose of the Big Ride is the ride itself. Also it should be longer than 30 minutes, and have some hills in it.

From Highbury, I managed to get to the golf ball in about 40 mins, and then it took around 30 to get home. Tried to keep up a fast clip because I couldn’t be away from my work for too long, but after the ridiculously steep Durham and Mortimer and Helen and Apuka my legs were fried and I slowed to a gaspy crawl.

I love this ride because it has a good amount of climbing each way, and obviously a good amount of downhill zooming, and throughout there are glimpses of chalky sea and usually a ferry ploughing along.

Even though I love the ride, the radome – actually the whole area around Hawkins Hill – gives off a sinister vibe to me, which is another reason to try to go fast. It has something to do with all of the private land around there, and how one time I was berated for my ‘bad attitude’ by a man in a Weta t-shirt after accidentally/idiotically stumbling onto his land, having missed a paint-peely, largely concealed sign saying trespassers would be prosecuted and their dogs shot. I was shaken for a few days after, so shaken that I started to wonder if maybe I really did have a bad attitude, and now the whole area has an unfriendly charge to it.

Still, though, a good ride. A Big Ride is a good antidote to everyday toil.

The white whale


Legs were feeling strangely energised. Rode to work mid-morning to meet my co-workers for coffee.

Rode home afterwards, via Aro, for scone reasons. Then back up Raroa (Raroa twice in one day – I planned badly), and took a slightly longer route up Highbury Rd to avoid Mt Pleasant. Started to feel the familiar sweaty tingle of a blood sugar low. Funny how I tend to feel these first in my teeth – a sweet, high-pitched buzz – and my hands, which feel like balloons. I get this whenever I do too much exercise fuelled only by caffeine. Should’ve had breakfast before setting out, but in my defence, well, I didn’t. Drew strength from the scone sitting in my pannier, focused on each pedal stroke, made it home.


No morning commute. Had to ride into town right at the end of the day, and got snarled in unmoving traffic trying to get home. Saw maybe one bus the whole time, so all the cars make a horrible sense. Scythed around and through the cars but it took forever to get to Aro. Riding up Aro St was stressful. Was overtaken too closely by a massive SUV. Why do SUVs often look so furious, so angry to be alive, as if they’re saying they never asked to be born? This one had CROSSFIT on it. I haven’t missed my rush hour rides this week.


Rain. Had hoped for a sneaky Big Ride to celebrate meeting my deadline, even though – there’s a flaw in the logic here – I haven’t technically met my deadline. Thought about going anyway, but couldn’t summon the will; even though you feel great afterwards, riding in rain is plain miserable. Then the rain stopped for a while: opportunity! Didn’t go.

About ashleighlou

Person, usually on bike
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2 Responses to Cycling week

  1. Heather Petryna says:

    Bloody awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. readwrite75 says:

    Hi Ash
    When I’m recovering from one of my various illnesses or just feeling slack we just do the stationary bike at the gym

    Liked by 1 person

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