The Days Are Getting Longer
The days are getting longer, the temptation to strip layers on rides is getting stronger, and the reality of how many winter miles were achieved is coming home to roost. Welcome spring.
I love the transition from winter to spring. Spotting the first daffodil and blossom, getting touched up by a magpie, examining the wood pile to see if you can make it stretch. Then, when you get the first early warm day thrown at you, telling every person in sight how wonderful the day is, before putting on your best sad clown face as the last cold snap rolls through.
For me, rather than New Years, this is my time for setting goals. The scales are pulled out, the events calendar is poured over and new purchases are planned. I charge off into spring weighed down with expectations of monk like commitments, that thankfully fall apart at the first sniff of a sunny Friday night drinks and weekend BBQ.
But something is hanging over me this spring, I guess you would call it an anxiety, and I have changed because of it. Our safety.
This winter has been different, like none I had ever experienced before. Cycling never left the media. A winter of tragic accidents with life changing or ending outcomes. Soon followed by random efforts at reasoned debate, quickly responded with vile vitriol of trolls and people resistant to what is happening before their own eyes.
This winter I didn’t ride my road bike.
We are all drivers; the road toll is horrendous. My greatest despair is that the road toll is now an accepted part of modern living. A horrifying 1293 people lost their lives (and thousands injured) on our roads in 2016, and we are lining up to do it again. If 4 jumbo jets crashed in Australia each year would you fly? Scream for a government enquiry and vote with your feet?
My anxiety is that cyclist bashing will become just as accepted as the rest of the ignorance that is killing and injuring us on the roads. That hating cyclists becomes cultural, like gay bashings were in the late 70's and 80’s. Hate sites, road toads, online trolls, ignorance, tabloid style media reports, boiling over to become steel juggernauts on the roads. I don’t want this as some ritual rite of passage.
Should we take this time to look inwards? How much of this do we bring on ourselves? How many riders in a group before it becomes a traffic hazard? Should certain roads and circumstances be single file only? Are we using the infrastructure such as cycling paths or riding on the road next to it? The reality is our road infrastructure does not always allow for the perfect cycling scenario. Are we up for change too?
Most importantly where will our leadership truly come from, and how will it unify. What current organisations can we look to pick up our agenda, work with others and give us one voice. There are already many good people taking a stance on our behalf, but they need support. And again, just importantly, as cyclists what reasoned concessions are we prepared to make.
I’m ready. I’ve tipped over the edge, because it has changed me. I need to align myself with the advocates and organisations that resonate. I don't want this current culture. It's a spring resolution.
So, to complete the soul baring here are my other spring resolutions;
- To only drink quality beer. It so happens my closet brewery is Aussies best and a biking brewer. Bridge Road. I’m in their posse!
- To fit the size M jerseys I have ordered. No one wants to see me stretch into those with muffin humps.
- To ride as much dirt as I can. I love it. It gives me a buzz that nothing else matches.
- To have as many adventures as I can. Those new saddle bags need a flogging.
- Use the newly set up family town bike, with basket, for as many errands as possible.
Ride safe and as much as you can. Here comes summer, make it ours.