Sunday, April 20, 2008

i don't want a pickle

I love riding my bike. For starters, my bicycle is beautiful and perfect in every way: I splurged on a new Trek hybrid road/mountain bike, more on the road side than mountain. It’s black. And very fast.

There are bike lanes on almost all of the city streets, and drivers are accustomed to bikers, so it’s safer than any city I’ve ever biked in before. There’s even little bike streetlights on big intersections. Riding through the city to school every day is a breeze.

The bike gives me such a sense of freedom. It’s not just the joy of riding: my heartbeat up, the wind, the speed, the alertness, the scenery. It’s being able to go absolutely anywhere. Road? Sidewalk? Playingfield? To the library? To another town? Want to sit in a quiet forest (“the bush”) somewhere? No problem. Me and my bike will be there. Possibly via thirteen fun and scenic detours.

The first time I took off to explore outside the city was a bit of a disaster: right after I got my bike, about two weeks ago, I explored north up the Murray river. It turned out to a big wind tunnel that smelled like poo, had a lot of construction, no bathrooms, and getting there involved a containership port, two highway underpasses, a railroad yard, an active marathon course, new-bike adjustment troubles, and a broken bridge. Not hard to beat that.

Today’s ride was beautiful. Not even just in comparison, just beautiful. It was about 75 degrees and sunny. (some autumn, eh?) I got out of the city by biking east through an interesting old shopping lane (Johnston Street), then wound northeast along the Yarra river. Despite theoretically following a major bike lane, I managed to get lost about every kilometer (1/2 mile), but that merely allowed me to discover a waterfall, a nice bench on a dirt path, myriad views of the muddy river, a nice beagle puppy, and other things I’d never have seen if I’d been where I thought I was. This made my 35 k (20 miles) take more than three hours door back to door, which is silly really even though it was quite hilly.

My favorite part of the day was stealing all of the chocolate chips and dried apricots out of my trail mix while watching a particularly mischievous kookaburra perched above lovely waving grasses by the Yarra, slouching its way toward the city. I'm really not cut out for the city. Give me half a chance and you'll find me beating a hasty retreat from the hussle and noise. Good thing I have that option here.

Petra’s getting a hand-me-down bike from a cousin later this week, and I’m looking forward to showing her all the wonderful places I’ve discovered. That’s the only thing that could possibly make biking better: having someone to bike with. It should be great.

View Larger Map

1 comment:

Miss J said...

just wanna ride my biiii-cycle...

that sounds like fun, erika! did i tell you that i'm taking a long-distance bike tour this fall after all? bellingham, wa to san diego in september & october. i can't wait! i am planning on starting a blog a la e&p so that folks can keep up with me.

oh yeah, and i quit my job!

i owe you an email, promise i'll send one soon.

maric (a.k.a. miss j)