Cycle of life
Back in the day, I rode the Malvern Star to my part-time job each morning. It was dark that time of the day and I could hear the whirr of the dynamo against my tyre, and feel the resistance it created against the pedals. On weekends I rode down to the local shops. Back then we rode because we had to – my parents both worked and there was no alternative. It sure kept you fit! Once I turned 18, I passed my driver’s license test and the Malvern Star was relegated forever to Dad’s shed.
Cycling for enjoyment started many years later when I discovered that it was a great way to commute to the pub for a beer. The joy of cycling was infectious and soon saw a larger group of friends (dare I say peloton) emerging. We extended the distances, still finishing at the same point to rehydrate. As our endeavours approached elite level (25km), we would stop frequently for a rest and a chat to the chagrin of more accomplished riders.
We love our rides, both the exercise and the camaraderie. Lately we’ve flirted with the Dark Side and purchased the odd piece of lycra. We stretch it lasciviously over our bellies in a fetching sort of way but struggle to get the Jerseys to meet the Knicks. Sure, it makes you feel a little effeminate, but deep down we can feel the smouldering sexual tension radiating from our female contemporaries.
I eventually went to the bike shop, made the ultimate sacrifice and bought myself a new Malvern Star Oppy. Now, thanks to Zipp and SRAM, I get to the pub 40 seconds faster but have to buy the first round. We suffer for our art.
The peloton still looks like a mismatch but the ‘real cyclists’ have begun to begrudgingly give us an almost imperceptible nod as they pass in the opposite direction. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, they allow me to ride with them in the bunch. At 50ish we’re pretty laid back. I haven’t shed any weight. The further we ride, the more diverse the restaurants and bars. Now I ride because I want to, not because I have to. But every weekend when I climb onto the Malvern Star, I become that skinny smart-arse teenager once again.
Back in the day!
Iain Indian, Oak Park, VIC
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