Monday, September 26, 2011

The smell of blue gum leaves under wheel…

…. Is wonderful. Especially when that wheel is a little bmx wheel. I recently discovered that a lovely group of lads has built a pump track out the back of Pioneer Stadium. When I first heard about it I was a trifle apprehensive that it might be a bit full on for and to honest it is.

I took a spin around it this morning and the bumps are big and hard to pump on so there was a lot of pedalling going on. I’m sure for those more experienced in the art of pumping it’s great, but I found it really hard work. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, but I certainly didn’t get my flow on today. However I’ve decided this is a good thing. You see this pump track is 5 minutes ride on my BMX from my house. So I have no excuse for not going there most days. In fact I could actually go to work via this pump track (well it’s a little in the opposite direction to work, but only 5 minutes so it doesn’t matter), and get a few laps in before the mindless drudgery.

That means that fact that I struggle with the track is a good thing. Lots of practice on it and hopefully I’ll become a better rider. I’m pretty sure I’ll become a much fitter rider. My legs currently feel like jelly!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Introducing the Duchess

As I mentioned in my last post I sold my Jamis to fund the purchase of a commuter bike. As my health slowly started to improve I really wanted to ride places rather than being trapped in my car, but I wanted something comfy, something I felt relaxed on, something I could take shopping or cruising in the park and something I could wear a dress and heels while riding. And after much searching I found my dream commuter. The 3 speed Linus Dutchie. A HUGE thanks to the wonderful Dave at Velo Ideale (here in Christchurch). Go see him if you want a lovely utility bike!

She's soooo pretty.

She’s a beautiful creature with sleek, flowing lines, leather grips and a 3 speed internal geared hub. When I ride her I feel like a princess! Since I got her I’ve treated her to a few important upgrades. I was lucky enough to win a blogging competition with actual prize money so I was able to get myself a gorgeous Brooks saddle and a detachable wicker basket. I love both greatly. The saddle is so beautiful and so comfortable (despite the dire warnings I received about butt destroying doom) and the basket compliments the bike perfectly. I’ve been taking great pleasure in biking to Mediterranean Foods and picking up yummy treats and a bottle of wine and popping them all in my basket. Then a brief cycle through the disaster zone that is the ever-shrinking central city (well, not through so much as along the edge of) and I’m home with a smile on my face.

Panniers are classy on the outside.....

Biking to work is a joy every day. Although when you’re sitting upright on a bike any head wind is a slight challenge. There has only been one thing I’ve longed for. I’ve got some lovely touring panniers that I use for doing the grocery shopping, but they are big and bulky and I don’t like leaving things in them when I’m in a cafĂ© or wandering the shops (the few we have left). So I’ve made myself a set of classy shoulder bag style panniers. They fit my laptop and double as a great handbag, unlike my basket which isn’t really ideal as a handbag. on the inside. Also with handy pockets.

Not bad as a bag.
Making these babies has been a mission and I would never ever recommend that anyone attempt to sew anything more complicated than a table cloth out of oil-skin fabric. Nightmare. Broken needles, bent pins and hours of frustration. The panniers look great, but I’m still not convinced that the effort was worth it. Well, I’ll see when I head to work.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The year that wasn't

I'm almost embarrassed to post here again. It's been over a year! But I'm getting back into biking and for me writing and biking work beautifully together so it's time to start this baby back up. So what's happened in the time that's elapsed since my last post?

Well, no entry for the McLean's 6hr for a start. Not enough money to pay for race entries. And then just over a month after my last post.... EARTHQUAKE! A real one, not just a little rattle, a full on 7.1 shake that threw me out of the bed, knocked down a brick wall in our then back yard and destroyed a lot of property in Christchurch. At the time we all thought this was as bad as it got. We moved house, which was a little stressful as it was very difficult to get insurance.

I started a new job, started volunteering at the awesome charity Dog Watch and started renovating our new hovel. Then in December I got pleurisy, most likely due to the black mold living in our hovel, and all the rubbish I'd been inhaling during the renovation process. Cue a month in bed. Slowly but surely I started feeling better and then the now famous February earthquakes.

These were terrifying, life changing events and nothing has been the same since. We had now water for over a week, but we were very very lucky that our house, friends and family were all fine. Unfortunately the trauma of it all, the sadness at all the lives loss and the sense of upheaval caused by losing the heart of my city caused me to get even sicker. I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I couldn't ride my bike, I could barely walk up the stairs. All I could do was sleep for hours and hours. I'd get light headed, nauseous, breathless, forgetful and on the worst days I incoherent and couldn't even string a sentence together.

It was the most difficult, frustrating time I've even been through. First the earth betrayed me by jumping up and destroying my city, and then my body betrayed me and stopped working. From the 18th of December last year till sometime in June I couldn't do anything. Since June I've carefully be building up my fitness, doing more hours at work and finding myself again. While I was sick I had to give up a lot of things, all biking, my volunteer work, renovating, I had to drop one of my Diploma papers and I pretty much lost myself.

Now I'm coming back. And so's this blog. I've changed my priorities a bit. I've sold my beloved Jamis (insert tears here), to fund the purchase of an absolutely stunning commute bike (more later). I've ordered a Freeload rack with the plan of cycle touring around the South Island and I've realised that I need to slow down a bit.