Maximizing the joy of long rides

Maximum pleasure with minimum pain, and minimum effort for maximum gain: my unashamedly hedonistic world view.

Last night I joined a large group of architects for the opening of some holiday units—beautifully, naturally—68km from town. 31 cars made the trip, plus one bicycle, belonging to little old, self-righteous me. Honestly, I did not make the trip the way that I did, just to reprimand my students and colleagues for the fat on their phony souls. I rode, because I like riding, especially long distances, especially alone, and especially when free food and drink is on offer at some idyllic spot up in the country. The opportunity to shame my peers for their hollow eco pretensions, well that was a bonus. (And in the interest of utter disclosure, I did ask a driver to transport my tent).

So 68km is hardly a deterrent, or achievement, for anyone who likes cycling; a mere two-hour ride, with a tailwind as well. It is the riding solo on roads teaming with long-haul trucks, and those frightful types, you know, who live way out where houses are half-price, that made me think twice before embarking on this adventure. I have a way to stay safe though, that I am blogging to share with you now.

Most likely you don’t live in a part of the world that can be navigated entirely via quiet farm roads, or designated bike routes. Still, you should be able to plan a route that is mostly enjoyable, and safe from all but freak accidents, for most of its length. The problem is those treacherous stretches. You will hit them right when you’re filled with endorphins and feeling so invisible, that you will find yourself muttering to that truck driver bearing down from behind, as the road shoulder narrows to nothing, that he can just blooming well brake from 100 to 40.

Take that thought process as a warning, that you have entered a dangerous mindset. Now that I’m older and wiser, my internal mutterings sound more this: “Perhaps it is time to pull over, take a walk through the bush, find a spot for a leak, think about sex, encounter some wildlife basking in this sunshine, hug a tree, admire some poisonous spiders, or any of a number of things I might find to do—on the safe side of that barrier.”



  1. tk says:

    i see new south is persisting with those chain barrriers that are so good at vibratoming motorcyclists who come off in the rain.

    got clearance for CX tyres on the roadie?

  2. Steven says:

    “Vibratome”! I had to look it up to see just what a perfect word choice that is, making words like slice, or even microtome, seem like malapropisms, compared to vibratome. Wonderful stuff. I’ve got 24mm Schwalbe Marathon tires on that bike, that are just fantastic for big adventures. So I don’t have to ask a driver to ferry my tent for me next time, I’m thinking of hooking up one of these:

  3. tk says:

    almost went with egg slicer (you remember those ones from the 80s? do they still make those?), but vibratome: so much more sciencey.

    i had marathons on the 2nd hand gary fisher i first bought here. didn’t puncture once in 2 years. sold it to a colleague and afaik he hasn’t punctured either. his seat did get stolen though. hdb’s… devil’s playground haha.

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