Thursday, April 10, 2008

Biking mishaps

Scott couldn't have warned me enough about how difficult it was going to be for me to find my way around these streets on a bike. Before I start with my issues, I will quote the various stories that Scott shared with me over email from the past 2 months:

  • March 4th: On Saturday, as I was heading to my last appointment, there was an orange cone in the middle of the path. Nothing else. Just a single old faded orange cone. The cone was supposed to indicate wet cement, which I realized as I was halfway over the handlebars! My bike and my body was covered in it. A construction worker rushed over with a hose and started washing my bike. Meanwhile, my right leg was getting stiff! He had to totally hose me down. Despite me being soaking wet, and he having to redo all his work, we both thought it was hilarious. Seriously, I thought that only happened in movies and cartoons. What next? Sitting on a park bench with wet paint? Well, no. Ten minutes later, on the same bike path, one pigeon in a group of four is slow to take flight, and bounces off my right shoulder! At this point, I'm simultaneously laughing my ass off and fearing for my life. I made it back to the hotel without any surprises, locked the door, and stayed in for the night. Every day is an adventure.

  • March 13th: I guess I'm just not destined to ride my bike after work. My front derailleur cable broke about 4 blocks from work. The sports store at the mall had brake cables, but not derailleur cables. Then, I almost crashed my bike on the way home at the high-speed-90-degree-turn at the bottom of the hill. My front tire that I patched yesterday was leaking, but I didn't realize it until trying to make a tight turn at high speeds. I pulled it out. It would have been ugly. When I got home, I realized that the NEW rear tube from yesterday had a small leak.

Yesterday was my first day on the bike along the winding, hilly streets of Sydney. It took me until 2pm to talk myself into giving it a try. For some reason I was so scared to bike -- primarily because they drive on the left side of the street. From my apartment window I watched the cars drive along the road below and tried to make some mental notes about how I would bike. First, I needed to move my rear view mirror to the right side. My mantra started before I walked out the door -- "stay left, stay left, stay left". Since Scott and I bike so much in the states, I have some major muscle memory habits to break, like don't look left when you arrive at an intersection -- enter my next mantra "look right, look right, look right". Scott bought a very large book with all the street maps of the Sydney area that I could barely fit in my fanny pack. I made it to my first destination -- the real estate office to raise some hell about our NA (nasty ass) carpet, the dirty walls, and the lack of keys. I am suprised and happy to report that my ride was relatively successful except for getting rained on a bit.

Today I rode to work with Scott (my personal tour guide). Our route to work was hilly and wonderful -- about 45 minutes. Part of his commute is through the Lane Cove National Park (LCNP) on a large paved bike trail. Before and after the LCNP he rides many streets that I couldn't begin to remember for my bike home. So, I took the easier and more straight forward route home which meant I was biking on a path along the highway. I had to make a pretty large detour around some construction and found myself lost for a good 20 minutes. These streets are so confusing and windy. It was lucky that I was lost and thus biking slowly, because I biked over a grate in the sidewalk and my tire went through!!!! Note to self: the grates in Sydney run parallel to tires and road bike tires fall through. I can't believe I didn't get a flat or at least bend my rim -- I was kind of scared to look.

I'm sure everyday will bring a new biking mishap. By the end of this adventure, we will definitely know more streets here than the average Sydneysider.

1 comment:

Danno said...

I seriously laughed out loud at this post. Too funny.