Cycling week

It was a week of small miscalculations.


Set off early in a raving wind. Sky a yellowy, burnt-looking grey. Buses moving in slow-motion. A van full of dogs (‘Boom Rock Dogs’) went past.

Cold pointy rain on the way home. I’m not a fan of this kind of rain. Going up Kelburn Pde, the southerly was so strong I almost got stuck in it. I saw several men cycling along with shorts on. One looked happy. What’s going on?! It was cold – freakishly cold for this time of year. Ears especially cold, due to forgotten headband.

On Moana Rd I saw a large bit of fur on the road that looked like something dead. I braced myself. Thankfully, when I got closer, it was just a sock.

INJURY TALK: I went to the physio today and had shockwave therapy on my sore Achilles. This involved the physio using a huge expensive machine to shoot ultrasound waves into my leg and ankle. It was pretty painful, like someone jabbing at a sore tooth with increasing intensity. But immediately afterwards, all of my pain was gone. I could’ve leapt up and thrown away my cane if I had one and started tap-dancing. I’m told it’ll take a few sessions for the tendon to start healing properly, but it seems promising. I always knew, deep down, that I just needed to have shockwaves blasted into my leg.


A pretty full riding day – the sun was out on the ride to work, and I had a hilly ride around at lunchtime (excellent, sanity-restoring), then rode into town after work to see Sam Duckor-Jones’s incredible work of art LADS, then home at night after eating a lot of corn snacks. An e-bike whipped past me incredibly fast, with someone wearing a hi-vis backpack with CAUTION written on it.

I rode up Raroa Rd three times today, which is too many times. I recently came across a heated conversation on the Cycle Wellington Facebook page about the proposed cycle lane up Raroa Rd. I’ve noticed that there are new painted stripes along the side of the road. They’re sort of baffling. A cycle lane for ants, really.

Something happens in my brain when I encounter online discourse about cycle lanes. I know that people are probably saying sensible things and making good points, but it all just feels like shouting. It’s like that Far Side cartoon with all the neighbourhood dogs revealed to be shouting ‘Hey!’ ‘Hey! Hey!’


Three rides today. Going up old nemesis Raroa again, and thinking of the work day ahead, I had a thought: ‘What if the rest of my life is just sending emails?’ This is one problem with cycling – it unleashes these fears and realisations upon you.

An early eveningish ride home after a book launch. Legs grousing and griping by this point, but a good ride in the cool air.


A no-ride day. Attempted a lunchtime run but had to keep stopping to cough because almost as soon as setting out, a bug flew directly into my open mouth and right down my throat, in a perfect arc. Like the bug had been shot out of a cannon.

At an event last year, I remember talking to an interesting man named Andreas who told me that he was once cycling down a road in Nelson when suddenly he had to sneeze. He said something like, ‘I love, love to sneeze and I always breathe in very deeply. I want to make the most of the sneeze.’ As he was rushing along the road and breathing in deeply, about to relish his sneeze, a bug was sucked down his throat and right into his lungs. He had to go to A&E and the bug showed up on an X-ray. It was too far down for them to do anything about so they just had to leave it in there. ‘I can still remember the laughter of everybody in the A&E.’


A ridiculous ride to work, blasted with rain and wind. I was riding lopsidedly with mostly my left leg because earlier in the morning I accidentally dropped a 10 kilogram weight on my bare foot while enthusiastically doing ‘kettlebell goblet thrusters’ at home. I decided that my toe simply could not be broken, because I don’t have time for that. Rode along like a loon, wincing into the weather. Very few other cyclists out today.

(Hilariously, later on when I opened my fitness app back up I saw that it was still paused at the fatal moment. Needless to say it was not ‘a proud chest finish’.)

The foot seemed to get worse during the day but gradually the pain eased off and it felt better, so I figured it definitely was not broken and I could ride on it. Rode into town for a beer – the wind was mad on the ride in, roaring in the powerlines. There’s something about the sound of wind at the moment that feels more ominous than usual.

Then home, a surprisingly enjoyable ride once I was clear of the St Paddy’s revellers. Went up the Terrace and through Kelburn. On the Terrace, I saw what looked like an animal writhing in a driveway and involuntarily cried out ‘Noooo!’ But then I got closer and saw it was just a potplant container rolling back and forth in the wind.

POSTAL SERVICE TALK: A wonderful thing happened this week, which was that I got a card in the mail (the mail!) from a kind person saying that she likes this blog. I was moved, I was genuinely delighted, I felt slightly shamefaced at the lack of more exciting bike rides featured here and how most of it is just me complaining. Thank you Leanne from Piha.

About ashleighlou

Person, usually on bike
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