Always one more challenge.
A have a new challenge looming on my horizon. Next month I’ll spend five days hanging with some friends in Bright and riding the majestic Victorian Alps. It was my contemplating this coming trip that led me to wonder “how did I get here?”
I know lots of you regularly ride the “3Peaks” or the “Alpine Classic” and that fills me with awe. I’ve never been tempted to ride one, but I'm not sure if that's because of my dislike of big event rides or that secretly I’m too chicken to tackle it? Somehow this long weekend with a few mates seems more my speed. We’ll tackle a different mountain each day. We’ll stop and smell the roses (drink coffee) and kick back with a beer and a chat each evening. Sweet.
My take-with-me message for the weekend: Ride hard, but don’t forget to lift your head and have a look around. And always save enough breath to say g’day.
These last few weeks my family has been very tolerant as I prepared. I’ve spent even more hours in the saddle and covered more kilometers than usual to give myself the best chance of surviving the climbs. Their degree of understanding tells me that my cycling hasn’t affected only me. Four years from the start of this story and bikes have wangled their way into much of our family's life.
Instead of just a couple of cobwebby hybrids, now there are 7-8 bikes hanging in the shed. Mrs Snappy and I enjoy riding to dinner, the pub, the beach, in fact anywhere social on the weekends. My daughter rebuilt an old step-through for a high school project. Snappy Jr rides an XS sized roadie to school, and occasionally up to Lofty with me. We all have a hoot bouncing around on MTB’s on farm country during long weekends. I cobbled together a rusty hard-rubbish fixie to get to work and around in the city in street clothes. My daughter took possession of my first Merida Racelite as her high school commuter (gaining considerable ‘cool’ points from the senior boys). They even pretend to be interested when I tell them that Gerro won a fantastic stage, but Gossie is still out of form. The kids still give me T-shirts for birthdays and Christmas, but at least these days they all have bikes on them.
Perhaps the ultimate marker of how much bikes are part of our life is the scene in our living room the night before my early rides. Mrs Snappy is extremely house-proud. I should have said EXTREMELY house-proud. Electricians have been summarily marched from the premises (and presumably executed) for installing a powerpoint slightly off-square. Get the picture? But when I leave to ride at 0515 it’s a lot easier to have already brought the bike into the house, lean it behind the couch, plug in all the rechargeable lights and top up the bottles for a quick exit. I’ve not had one single complaint. At my most insensitive, I could say, “What’s not to love about a shiny sexy looking road bike decorating your living room anyway?” but I’m not going to push it. And I haven’t tried putting it in the bedroom which could quickly bring my illusions of domestic harmony crashing down.
There is also an un-voiced dream that bike N+1 may be a restored Italian steel framed classic, mounted on a very tasteful wall bracket somewhere in the house. When that time comes I’ll ask you my cycling brethren for strategic advice. Whether it’s better to slowly introduce the idea and get it into the public forum for so long it becomes a quirky family joke, before I make the move? Or do I attempt a sudden preemptive strike while the house is empty, and apologize afterwards? Like I said, with bikes there’s always one more challenge!
A last couple of cycling aphorisms to scribble on the stem:
*Assume you can achieve anything, and sometimes you will.
*Keep the rubber side down.
*The family that rides together abides together (erkk- maybe Granny Snap can cross-stitch that into a tapestry for you)
Thanks for reading,
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