More riding on my new bike

March 5, 2023 at 19:37 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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I went for another ride on my fancy new bike today. I rode out to Manly, which is a bit more hilly than the routes I took last weekend. And, rather marvellously, the Harbour Bridge was closed to traffic (thankfully the cycle lane was open) because of a Pride march that was occurring that morning. It was lovely to see for a number of reasons. Thousands of people celebrating the LGBTQI+ community, all walking together in the sunshine is definitely something to celebrate. The Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, was walking with the crowd, which is also something to celebrate given the anti-trans hate-filled rhetoric coming from other politicians both here and around the world.

The other thing to celebrate was how peaceful the scene was. I don’t mean in the sense of the people being peaceful (although they were, many dressed in extravagant and eye-catching costumes). I mean in terms of the traffic. The historic Sydney Harbour Bridge, beautiful though it is, is an urban traffic sewer. An 8-lane traffic monstrosity that carves though the city, ruining it with the roar of traffic and the small of fumes. But not today. The calmness and peace was very marked. Of course, it is entirely possible that it could be closed to traffic every Sunday. Clearly people were managing. But the car-centric planners of our state are unlikely to be interested, intent as they are on building ever more motorways in the city,

Having got across the bridge, I continued up to Manly. This involves going across the Spit Bridge, which has a steep descent to get there, followed by a steep ascent the other side. My goodness, this new bike of mine is very fast indeed! On the fixie, I basically max out in terms of cadence at about 50kph – I just can’t turn the pedals any faster than that. On this new bike, though, there are gears a-plenty! You can just keep clicking up, until I was hurtling down the hill. The speed limit is 60kph, and I was going faster than the cars. And there was still plenty of room to push the pedals faster. And I must say, the bike handles the speed with aplomb. Very stable, very comfortable. Well, not completely comfortable, to be honest – I got to a point where caution kicked in, and I slowed down. There’s not much room for error at those speeds.

The climb up the other side, of course, is then a slog. Being able to click down through the gears is good, I suppose, but I actually don’t think I’ve got the muscles yet for spinning up hills in a low gear. I’m used to standing up and mashing the pedals. But this is sort of hard on this bike, it just doesn’t feel quite right. I think it is being used to the momentum of a fixed drivetrain – when out of the saddle on a regular bike I am aware of the ‘dead spot’ at the top of the pedal stroke; something that simply doesn’t happen on a fixie. I got up the hill fine, and it was easy enough, but I think this new technique of going up hill in the saddle whilst spinning will take some getting used to. Although it was in my head that possibly I would not have got up the hill on my fixie at all these days…!

Anyway, Manly was looking very fine in the sun, with surfers enjoying the waves and everyone else enjoying the beach. And it’s nice to be riding again; these are rides that I have rarely done since the kids were born. Where to next weekend, I wonder?




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