Monday, August 9, 2010

Fast Times, New Roads

Modern life can get pretty hectic. As a youngster I listened with fascination as I was told that the advances in computer technology would give me innumerable hours of free time “when I grew up”. Sadly the promised life of leisure I was led to believe in never came to fruition and instead life just seemed to get busier and more complicated as I got older. Technology allows us to be instantly connected to whoever we choose in many more ways than we could once imagine. Does anybody remember what life was like without a mobile phone? All this connectivity can be useful but it has led to a need for instant gratification which can be a little annoying if you are the one being pursued. Recently my carefully crafted, quiet anonymity was foiled as I had been caught in technologies sticky web and was forced into attending some work related demands, when I happened upon this chap.

I snapped this photo over a week ago and it has been playing on my mind ever since. This guy is so connected and demanded upon that he has seen fit to drop his bike between parked cars and squat awkwardly in the filthy city gutter as he bows to another of life’s demands. What is he doing? Could he be running a quick colour coordination diagnostic on his computer to make sure his white deep V’s are still an acceptable match with his black frame? Could he be bidding for a frame in an online auction for his next build so we all get to see another piece of junk road frame turned into a fixie? Or perhaps buying some colourful tyres online? Maybe he's reading my blog! Any other suggestions readers? Whatever it may be I’m sure glad that my life isn’t as demanding as his.

Everybody just seems to fit more into life these days with "growth" and "increased productivity" being the buzzwords of our time. Well how much can we grow before we split our metaphoric pants? How much productivity can be squeezed out of a human being before they become an empty husk? Sometimes it feels like wherever I look somebody is demanding my attention, it may be work related or even social, quite often it’s “some company” vying for a slice of my interest trying to push their product in front of me. Stop reading right now and look around you. How much branding and advertising can you see? I’m tipping that unless you live in a cave then the answer is plenty.  Most of the time this sort of thing just washes over me, I treat it like current affairs programs on any commercial TV network and I pay no attention to it but every now and then it has the power to drag me down slightly. I know, I'm part of it, I advertise on my blog. When this happens there is only one thing to do. Put on my team kit covered with sponsors logos and go for a ride. I suppose this makes me part of the problem (again) but I console myself with the knowledge that I seriously doubt if any of my clubs sponsors have seen a return on their investment.


One of the nicest things about cycling is discovering new roads to train on. Sometimes this can really give your motivation a boost when the same old training routes are getting a little tiresome. Its great linking up a few newly discovered roads into a loop and showing a few select friends your secret ride. I normally begin with the words “I’m going to show you a loop that’s gonna blow your mind”. Just be sure they can keep it to themselves or you will end up seeing energy gel sachets strewn all over your previously undiscovered ride, as has happened to me recently.

Stop being too precious about your bike and start enjoying it more. Don’t be afraid of venturing down dirt roads, some of my favourite rides include some sections of dirt. Just make sure you bring enough spares (I carry 2 tubes and a patch kit) and I would also advise you bring some extra food just in case you get lost.  Recently I decided to venture down a dirt road which I had not ridden for at least five years, when I got there I discovered that joy of joys it had recently been sealed. I was so excited I took some pictures to share with you.

This recent discovery now provides me with another loop within a loop to keep me eager and my training partners mesmerized. Part of the reason I find exploring new roads so refreshing is because it takes me back to one of the reasons I started riding in the first place, adventure. Sometimes its good to forget about training for competition or bragging rights or personal fitness and get back to just enjoying the pleasure of riding.

The road in these pictures looks like it could be in the middle of nowhere when in fact its only in the outer suburbs of Melbourne.  Stop venturing down that same “road” every weekend (Melbourne cyclists will know which “road” I’m alluding too). I challenge you to open a map, do some research and put together a new training ride before this weekend.

You might see me out there.


  1. won't be empty roads if you let Justin "Mad"en get his sausage fingers on it.

  2. 2 tubes, a patch kit and an apricot bar