Wednesday, April 11, 2018
I haven’t a single picture of note today, so the picture above is a really nice one from Idra (Hydra) recycled for your viewing pleasure.
It’s barely after lunch, but I have already ridden 75 km or so, had lunch and responded to some email. I am now preparing for more difficult work, sitting below at my desk and wanted to add a bunch of commentary that was running around my head while I was riding.
The big thing is that I love riding my bike. Today I went out for a quick 30-40 km ride and ended up climbing that hill to Sotira resulting in a much longer ride. I did the ride with no food and a very minimal breakfast and I still felt great and really enjoyed myself.
I decided to take a video of the descent from Sotira so that I could give all of you a sense of the experience of flying down a hill at 75 kph weaving through the turns and traffic. So I adjusted my phone holder to hold the phone in the right position, took two great videos, and neither turned out. It seems that the iPhone has a really good stabilizing algorithm that at high speed just made the entire screen dance around and made things difficult to discern. They have been deleted.
But if it had worked, you would have noted a lot of cool things, like stray dogs along the road (including some jumping out at me as I passed); the smog hanging over Elefsina (I haven’t seen smog here until today). There were some great moments as I flew past cars on the descent and even more where they gracefully pass me, the crazy guy on the bike. A wonderful transit bus that cut me off and slammed on the brakes to let a transport make a left turn (from the other direction), effectively boxing me in at 50kph. But then, just beyond that were two, totally cute puppies (almost certainly stray/wild Labradors) playing with a bit of junk at the curb.
There is much more on every ride. People, cars, flowers, animals they all light up my brain with stories imagined and real. It came to me today that this is my food. While some of you love the taste of this or that, I suppose inciting some response in your brain, I get that from spinning down a road and seeing the world.
I still remember the first time I wanted a bike. My uncle Lorne brought a single speed bike to our house for my sister (16 months older) and she couldn’t have been more disinterested. I was, like any child, so envious that she had the bike. Within two or three years, I was able to ride a bike regularly, I don’t remember if it was hers or my parents got me another one. Soon (at 12, and to my mother’s horror) I was riding a bike along Highway 7 (a major trucking route at the time), 14 km each way to school. I clearly recall many things from those times. First, I was free to do whatever I wanted when I was on a bike. Second, all the kids laughed at me. “Why not take the bus?”, but I was free and I remember the feeling of the wind across my face. It still resonates today. I ride alone most of the time, lost in my own thoughts and imagination, and I truly love riding a bike.
Yesterday while I was riding I saw one of the most pleasant sights I have seen. I didn’t take a picture (focused on completing my ride and schedule), but when I turned I rode hard to try to catch up. I failed. As I rode past Megara, I saw two bikes, fully loaded approaching. Always a reason in and of itself to wave, but then I saw the whole of the situation. I am so, so impressed. The lady in front was on a tandem with a youngster riding in the stoker position. I was moving pretty fast, but I think it was a boy of about 11 or 12. Behind her was the gentleman on a single bike. Again, I took it all in very quickly, but I believe he had a child seat on the bars with a toddler, and definitely had a trailer in the back with a child in there, and both bikes were loaded to the hilt.
I can only imagine that this family will either love or hate each other in a few months, but they will almost certainly have one of the best stories (ever) to tell.
Tomorrow I will stay off the bike and do another big day on Friday with fantastic weather forecast. My goal is to get to 1,250 km of riding prior to heading home on Monday, and I only have another 450 km or so to go, so perhaps a 300 km day on Friday and then it’s just coasting after that!