Cycling has been the staff on my page since age 5. I remember my first bike before I remember school. I remember bashing out my front teeth and a dog crashing me into a curb and an ensuing broken leg. I remember cycling right through my university years. I remember the first real road bike I ever bought. I remember my first mountain bike. I remember racing A grade. I remember misty morning rides through Sydney’s Akuna Bay and West Head along roads frequented only by lyre birds. I remember riding the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a daily commute back in the day when cycling infrastructure was wishful thinking. I remember my 26 year ride as an academic, from tutor to professor, where every year was n+1 in terms of unwelcome trauma from mindless managerialists and academics with steel trap closed minds. I learned the ugliness of reductionist funnel vision. I kept riding. I rode and rode until the ride every day became the only thing that made that particular journey still worthwhile. So much so, when they threw me out the door via the world’s most pointless restructuring, I still ride that ride to this day, once a week. Every week.
Now I’m classified as a farmer, which means I have the world’s greatest private singletrack network for my mountain bikes! I also sit on a gravel road network that is, in effect, limitless, starting literally at my front door. Gravel Road Riding is the name they now give to the thing I’ve been doing for over thirty years. Gravel bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, single speeders and even a folding birdy bike. I’m into them all. I can’t stop, at least until the day some spit drooling hick in a Landcruiser finally does what they threaten every single day. I’ve been run off the road by a simian with no front teeth, I have been showered in rocks, bottles and invective from the first day to the last. I’ve been inspired by the transition of cycling from the fringe to the trendy cutting edge. My cycling is my meditative practice, my hobby, my addiction, my passion, my health, my bypass around the traumas of the world. I ride around 25,000km a year, every year. I have not had a day off the bike in ten years. Not one. I don’t want a day off. There’s time enough for that when I am dead. Death is lack of cycling.