I was sitting on my couch last night watching Japanese game shows, and I realised the entire month of January has passed. My summer of cycling is 2/3 of the way finished - with a disturbingly low amount of actual cycling actually taking place. One month has passed since I booked my tickets for the NZ tour, it's time to blog about the month in review, in the hope I can make myself feel like I'm moving forward by making a month of not actually doing any touring seem slightly more dynamic and interesting...
Retail by proxy
Earlier in the month Jer bought his tickets for the big tour, and committed to a number of lead up tours throughout the year. However to date his riding has been limited to more traditional road riding, rather than touring riding. As I am the "alpha" tourer of the bunch (that is, I ride slower, my bike is heavier and I have a beard), I already have most of the gear I need, whereas Jer has none. My superior status as a velo touring guy clearly bothers him a lot, as I found this photo he took of me while looking through a shoot for a magazine article we wrote.
Jealousy is a curse Jer, it really is.
Still, despite his apparent disdain, he was silly enough to give me his credit card, along with instructions to get him hooked up for whatever the road might throw at him. The last thing I want for any of my fellow cyclists to be in any way underprepared for anything, so my shopping spree included panniers, handlebar bag, computers, pedals, sunnies, jerseys, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, lights, saddle bag, gloves, bidons, bidon cages and other bits and pieces. Sitting back and thinking about it after the above mentioned retail blowout, I realised his bike wasn't really going to suit being loaded down with all that stuff, so I had to buy him a whole new bike as well. Which bike did he get? You'll just have to wait until he picks it up from the shop.
Ride of the weak
There was no touring and very little riding done in January by the Velo Cetera crew. I managed a weak 639km, and Jer probably even less than that. And most of that comprised sub-70km rides, usually to coffee shops to sit around for hours before riding home in the baking heat. Night rides made a bit of a comeback this month to beat the heat, however the intensity of those post-dinner rides was usually very low, and progress hindered by the billions of cane toads that reside on Brisbane's bike routes in the summer. Being covered in the blood and guts of dozens of squashed toads does get a bit tiresome after the first few hours. Weakness leads to weakness, and even on our one decent length ride of 133km, we still managed to execute it in such away to avoid any and all climbing.
Skilled avoidance of local ranges for 133km
We can freelance it for you wholesale
Sitting around doing nothing in this 21st century generally involves a lot of time sitting front a computer, turning to the world wide intertubes to solve our problems. One advantage of being stuck off the bikes for most of the month through the combination of heat and wet is I managed to get pretty much all my tour routes and dates for the whole year, including Aotearoa, all sorted. However, much like my fellow cycle touring blogger from The Big Ride South, I won't be giving any details away until the rides are actually happening.
The other good to come of sitting around staring at a computer screen all summer is that after years of inactivity and writers block, I have found the headspace to start freelance writing again, and with the help of Jer's photography, have already had some articles accepted by cycling magazines. It will work well, giving us more impetus to get places on tour, photograph it, write about it, get paid for it, then do it all again. It's a vicious cycle of cycle adventure awesomeness.
But probably the best thing to come from my time in front of the net this month is the greatest cycling image in the history of the cosmos...
No caption required!
I don't know what this picture is, where it is from, what the product is, or who these guys are, but I guess that is irrelevant. Who am I to question the perfect storm of a bicycle, a camera, 3 nude guys, a bar code, and the word "nipples"? Some things are just too profound for us to ever comprehend...