Cycling week

It was a week of extreme helmet hair and various other complaints, but I was so busy and distracted that I kept arriving places on my bike and having no memory of cycling there.


An early ride, on calmish roads. It’s darker in the mornings now, or dark-bluer, and I like it. If only the mornings would stay just like this, without getting darker. This light is a good light to ride in.

The thing with doing an earlyish ride – this one was to the gym, then work – is that you really need to pack all of your stuff the night before, and it’s a whole performance. As I’m packing all of my things, trying to keep the pannier as light as possible but not forget anything, I sometimes have a minor existential crisis. Do I really want to live this way? Packing things? Little towels, undies, socks? Then it passes and I regain focus and carry on.

At lunchtime I rode into town to go to the physio, then rode back up the fast hell of the Terrace. Last week my brother Neil wrote about scooters rushing past ‘like flying axe handles’, and that simile is also very apt for the cars on the Terrace – so many of them scream past as if thrown by clowns.

A lateish ride home. I gave myself permission to proceed at a timid crawl.


Somehow this turned into a six-ride day. It started off quite badly when a truck towing a trailer with a little yellow digger perched on it roared past too close on a blind corner.

At lunchtime I had to ride to Thorndon, so today included another wrestle with my old nemesis the Terrace. At one point, slogging back towards Kelburn, I was wedged between fast-moving traffic on my right and, on my left, a guy sitting in a parked car waving a lit cigarette out his window.

Last week when I was in town, riding in the rain, I saw this interesting sight – two cyclists wearing full-body rain capes, bikes absolutely laden with panniers, both shuddering slowly up Victoria St; one seemed to be struggling with the traffic, and stopped in what looked like confusion on the side of the road. When we stopped at a red light I heard the two of them arguing loudly in French. I wonder where they are now.

A later-than-usual ride home tonight. I really enjoyed this one. The kākā are in full scream lately. Also the cicadas. As I went down Broomhill one smacked into my throat at full speed.


Legs like wet concrete. Rode to work, ducking as a low pigeon veered suddenly at me on Mt Pleasant. What is it with pigeons? I ask myself this often.

There’s something about riding – rushing through the fresh air, heart pumping – that kicks my memory into action. I’ve been finding myself hissing ‘Fuck!’ when I remember some task or other I haven’t done. Other times, I’m just groaning. For a while it felt like I was reading a lot of articles about the creativity-boosting properties of exercise; for me the guilt-boosting properties are more noticeable.

A ride into town at the end of the day, then home via Aro and Mt Pleasant, trying to keep up a fast clip for once.

I sat my learner’s licence test today. That’s right – things are going to change around here.


We were back to a trusty two-rider today, and they were auto-pilot rides that were immediately erased from my brain upon arrival at my destination, as work pulled me into its vortex.


Rode to town first thing to get my hair cut, and was shocked when I took off my helmet and looked at my face in the mirror. I looked so grizzled and old. Now, maybe if I had an e-bike none of this would be a problem.

Had to ride up the Terrace again to get to work, then up Salamanca. Went as fast as I could on the narrow. Indicated for ages to turn right, but had to give up as a long line of traffic surged forwards impatiently. Hopped off and pushed over the road instead.

On my ride home another cicada smacked into my face and bounced off. These cicadas seem to have reached a new level of desperation, at this stage of their lives – practically howling now, and not so much flying as flinging themselves through the air. I feel a connection with them.

About ashleighlou

Person, usually on bike
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