Saturday, 30 January 2016

2016 Ride the Night - Hobart

I am an "early to bed, early to rise" type of rambler, and hence midnight to me is a good time to be tucked up in bed with many hours of sleep already under my belt.

Which raises the question ... how the heck did I find myself lining up at the start of a 70km ride ... at midnight.

A ride where I knew that I'd be seeing nothing but rear lights ...

... and that I'd be the very last person to cross the finish line, not just because I'm a slow arsed rambler, but because I'd volunteered to be the sweep (hey, can you think of anyone better than the Rambler to sweep a race?).

This meant that my expected time on the ride was somewhere in the five to seven hour range, depending on who the second slowest rider might be ... and assuming I didn't turn out to be the slowest rider (a real possibility).

But going back in time, I'll be honest and say that despite my misgivings stated above, when I first heard about Bicycle Network's "Ride the Night" event, I got really excited about the idea, I mean what a cool idea - riding 70kms around the streets of Hobart in the dark hours of the night with hundreds of other cyclists.   Coolio.

Then I thought about it some more (and saw it cost $100 to enter) and my little negative voice came into play as I realised that I would be forking out $100 to stay up to ungodly hours in the night, to ride places I could ride anyway, at anytime ... and I sort of went off the idea.

Then a month or so after that, I saw Bicycle Network's call out for volunteers, and  noticed that one of the positions they wanted to fill was a sweep, and so after umming and erring about it for a week, I finally put my name down through their online registration system ...

...only to be told that the position had already been filled.

So I gave up on the event again.

As it turned out, this was a good thing, as I was then offered an alternative option to go explore some new trails over on the West Coast on the same weekend and pretty much forgot about Ride the Night.

That was I forgot about it until last Thursday when I got a call from Jake, from Bicycle Network, wanting to know if I was still interested in being the sweep ...

I was immediately torn - the likelihood of the west coast ride going ahead was looking very, very low (due to the west coast fires and the fact that the ride was being organised by some parks staff on the west coast who were busy fighting said fires) but it hadn't actually been cancelled and I didn't want to commit to Ride the Night, only to have to call up an hour later and say I couldn't do it because a better offer had come up ...

Then 24 hours later, having still been unable to get in contact with the organiser of my West Coast trip, I figured "stuff it" and that's how I got committed to riding Ride the Night.

And to think people say I overthink things.

Being rather nervous about falling asleep during the event, I had a power-nap on Saturday afternoon and then tried to get another hours sleep after dinner, then at about 10.30pm I jumped out of bed and headed out the door leaving Kim and Zara to their 'girls night in'.

Once at the start I saw quite a few faces I knew, but the main thing that jumped out at me was that this wasn't the usual event line up of testosterone filled MAMILS on their bikes that cost more than my car.  No, the majority of those present were casually dressed social riders on all sorts of bike configurations and a lot of them had very cool light set ups ...

We all set off at midnight, and here I discovered that contrary to the advice I'd been given an hour earlier, there was in fact another guy who was also a sweep, plus there was a St John's Ambulance volunteer who was riding along at the back for parts of the ride as well.

I wouldn't be alone!

I had given the role of sweep some thought prior to today, and I'd concluded that there would likely be one or two riders at the back that would be quite slow and I was very cool with the idea of cruising along at the back with these people, but what I hadn't thought about was the impact of malfunctions and withdrawals. 

After the easy climb through Battery Point and out onto Sandy Bay Road, things were going as expected as most of the riders disappeared off into the distance and we were left with a few riders at the back (OK - I was quietly relieved that I wasn't likely to be the slowest rider on the night) but then the ride turned down Queen Street towards Marieville Esplanade and all my ideas of how the night was going to go fell to pieces.

Firstly the other sweep, turned out to not really be a sweep, but more a roving rider, and he decided to just continue along Sandy Bay Road as did the First Aid lady, leaving me, by myself, to follow the actual route.

Did I mentioned that I didn't actually know which way the route went?

Fifty metres down Queen Street I came across some riders who were already having a slight problem - one of them had lost his rear lights.  Fortunately I had brought a whole bag of spare rear lights which I'd been given as aprt of a road safety campaign so was able to pop one on his back pack, and off we went.

The thing was, we were now a minute or two behind the next set of riders and god knows how far behind the main pack (if such a thing even existed).

Still it was nice riding along Sandy Bay Road and seeing everyone going in the opposite direction.

I caught back up with the second sweep fixing someone's bike along Sandy Bay Road after the turn around point at Nutgrove Beach and stopped with him while he fixed a tandem which was having chain problems.  

The two tandem riders decided to withdraw at that point, so we suddenly found ourselves several minutes behind the 'new' tail riders and as we sprinted along the road it started to occur to me that maybe this whole sweep business might be a little tricker, and a little more work, than I had anticipated. 

We did catch up to the next group though, and then the other sweep was instructed to ride to the bridge to help direct traffic while I continued up to the Cascade Brewery chatting to a lovely couple who had come over from Victoria for this ride, one of whom was riding a hand-powered trike after a motorcycle accident had left him without the use of his legs.

I was really relieved to see that there were a large number of riders at the Cascade Gardens rest stop, and so I wandered down to the entertainment area, sat down ... and then watched as the whole crowd just disappeared within what seemed like 30 seconds.

I do have that sort of affect on parties.

Anyway, I wandered around the few people that were still there just checking that they weren't in fact riders (there were a few pull outs at this point) and after confirming that all bikes had now gone,  I also realised that this meant that I was probably now two or three minutes behind the tail rider (again).

I sent off a status update to the organisers (part of my role was to let the other vounteers on the road know when the tail end riders had reached the rest points) and then set off after the back of the pack as fast as my legs could take me,

Fortunately I got a good run of lights and caught up to two girls around about Franklin Square, and was just settling into riding with them when we got to the turn off to the aquatic centre and bike track and I saw another rider who had obviously missed this turn off sign (the signs were hard to see in the dark) and who had continued along the Tasman Highway.  I therefore said goodbye to the girls and sprinted off after this guy thankfully catching him quite quickly and turning him around and getting back on course.

I caught back up to the other sweep at the bridge junction on the bike track and just as I was telling him how everyone was now through ... a couple of guys came cycling on through behind me, and then three more people came through behind them.

I have no idea how that happened, though I'm thinking maybe they also missed a turn off or stopped at a toilet.  I took the next section pretty slowly though as I waited to see if anyone else was coming. 

I came across the Electric Cylcing Orchestra at the Queens Walk / Cornelian Bay junction and hung with them for five minutes waiting to see if any more stragglers turned up, but realising that if we didn't hightail it soon, we might not catch up to the tail end riders, we (the other sweep had again joined me) we took off again.

The whole section of the ride through Lutana was a bit of a mess.  Due to lower than desired volunteer numbers there weren't people on many of the junctions, and the route itself was pretty confusing if you don't know the area.

Combine this with a fairly poorly signed  turn around point at the Zinc Works (I still don't know if I turned around at the right place) and signs that were pretty hard to see in the dark (I don't know why they didn't hang small lights on them or paint them with reflective paint) I found riders heading in all sorts of directions.

At one point, when I was finally confident that everyone was in front of me, a dozen riders suddenly appeared from behind me having headed down the wrong street.  Even after we left Lutana and were heading around Prince of Wales Bay, the sweep van came up behind and told me that there was still a lone rider behind me (I later found that this guy had ridden all the way into the Zinc Works).  

Anyway, we finally had it all back together by the time we were riding around the Derwent Entertainment Centre, and I enjoyed another ride into Mona with the couple I had also ridden into Cascade Gardens with.  

I shall gloss over the fact that a couple of minutes after I got to Mona I was to find out that there was apparently one more couple still behind me who had had a crash after going the wrong way.

What I will say was that there were even more bikes (and people) at Mona than there were at Cascade Gardens and so I was thrilled to think I could settle in for a bit of a break, enjoy a coffee, maybe a bit of 3am tennis ...

... but of course five minutes later the crowd had vanished and there were just a small stalwart group of four riders (plus the two that came in injured) that hung around for another 15 minutes or so before we were again on the road.

The ride back along the bike track to the bridge was pretty uneventful.  There were basically two groups, leap-frogging each other, and us two sweeps (we had rejoined again).

I caught up with Jake the organiser, just before the bridge and after chatting with him for a few minutes realised that I was again on my lonesome (at this point my other sweep had just enough time to ride over the bridge, before having to head home and get a few hours sleep before heading off to work) and so I enjoyed the pleasure of riding over the bridge by myself cheering on all of the riders returning in the other direction.

I caught up to one of the couple's about half way up the bridge, but hung back by myself to let them enjoy their own ride.

They however stopped at the bottom of the bridge, because the female rider had decided she wanted to cut out the Eastern Shore loop, so after showing her the safe way to get around to the other side of the bridge, I let the guy head off, clipped into my bike and cycled off after him only to hear that very distinctive 'ping' sound that a breaking spoke makes.

In disbelief, I stopped and checked out my bike and sure enough, one of the spokes on my front wheel had snapped.

How often does that happen?

Unfortunately that spoke must have been under a lot of load as my wheel now had a distinct 1-2 cm bow in it and only after letting the brakes completely off could I actually ride forward.

The reaslisation did hit me that I was now the sweep, that the support van had sort of left us (they had got sick of waiting at Mona and so had told those remaining that they either left now or they were on their own) and because of my buckled front wheel I was actually having to work quite hard (mentally) to keep up with a guy who was now putting on some power given he was alone.

Suffice to say I was happy to arrive at the Anzac Memorial Park rest stop still in contact with the tail of the field.

I wasn't so happy to see that there was (a) no mechanical assistance available here (though in defence of the organisiers when I'd texted them about my front wheel problem, they had offered to drive to me with a spare front wheel so I could keep going) and (b) there was only a smattering of cyclists around.

Still, I had a nice, albeit short, break and caught up with Mark on the bean bags while a few other tail-enders rested.  Then, as if no one really wanted to be last on this final section, the last ten or so riders left as one and I set off after them ... front wheel wobbling as I went.

One poor guy started to feel a bit unwell (too much fizzy coke was his diagnosis) as we headed up Gordon Hill Road, and we very quickly found ourselves alone once more.  I waited for him at the top of the hill, but then he took off going down the hill, whilst I, with my wobbly front wheel and poor brakes, went downhill at a much more sedate pace.

There were a lot of road marshalls through this section and they were all very happy to hear the news that I was the last rider (it was around 5am by this stage).  Again, I managed to catch back up to the tail riders just as they did the short loop through Bellerive, but then as we went past Rosny College, my poor friend with the coke problem had to get off his bike and do a bit of throwing up which separated us again.

This was unfortunate, as just past here there was a sign directing riders off the clarence foreshore track (just before the sewer works climb) and up the road.  They'd even put a light on this sign so people would see it.

The problem was that the sign had blown off the track somehow and was down in the bushes on the foreshore.  At this point I'd also stopped and texted in my concern about the sick guy suggesting that it would be good to have the medic team at the bridge to check him out and so everyone was in front of me by the time I got to this junction.

And I didn't know which way they went.

I had noticed a support van and lights up on the road, so despite there not being any sign (it being on the foreshore) I cycled up to them to see how things were going and found that sure enough the other three riders must have continued around the clarence foreshore trail (so back down I went and it was then that I saw the sign blown down on the shore).

I eventually reunited with these riders at the front entrance to the sewerage works, but they had had enough at this point and opted to just follow the road back to the bridge, whereas I, as sweep, felt I had better follow the official route around the foreshore just in case there was anyone else down there.

There wasn't, but to be honest it was absolutely gorgeous riding around there with the bridge and city all lit up in front of me.  I think it was at this moment that I realised that I'd been riding for over five hours, and hadn't once felt tired or cranky ... in fact it had been an amazing ride.

I caught back up to my sick friend at the entrance to the bridge where he was having a break, it was also here that I realised that because my phone was on automatic "Do Not Disturb" mode between 10pm and 7am, I had around half a dozen text messages which I'd missed.


My friend powered up the bridge (he must have gotten a second wind) and then we cruised down the other side finally coming across the medics who had been told to go to the cenotaph (not bridge).  

After a quick check that everything was OK, it was pretty much a downhill ride (with one last dog leg around Evans Street) back to the finish line.

I think we got in around 5.50am.

Most of the other riders had already left, so I just got my free coffee and egg and bacon brekky and sat at the table thinking just how incredibly alive and awake I felt.

I felt so good I seriously thought about going for an extra loop to chalk up a century ride.  

But I remembered I had promised to go home and bring the girls a cup of tea for breakfast in bed, and I'm sort of glad I did because 10 minutes into the drive home all that amazing energy vanished and I slumped.

I think that with any new event there will always be things you can tweak and improve and there were hopefully a few learnings that could be taken from it that will improve next years event, but if you didn't do it this year because you were worried about being too slow or too tired, then take my advice and just do it.  

And if you should happen to find yourself at the back of the pack ... say hi to the sweep - it just might be me.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Trek 520 Lifetime Frame Warranty

I was planning on joining the Cyclops lads on Monday for a 'Tour de Bruny' ride (a 120km down and back to the Bruny Island Lighthouse) and so knowing I'd need a gravel capable bike for this ride, I pulled the Trek 520 out of the garage, checked the tyres and chain (both of which had held up like the troopers they are) and then jumped on the bike to give it a bit of a test ride (to and from work) ... just to see if there were any little niggles that needed working out before the big ride.

Much to my delight, other than that strange feeling you get when you jump on a new bike which is set up slightly differently to your current one, it purred along the highway like a good bike should.

Then, just as I was settling into the feel of the bike, the whole back of the bike suddenly went all loose and wobbly in a way I'd never experienced before.

Stopping to investigate, I found this little surprise ...

The frame had just cracked.

Now, hopefully it goes without saying that this was slightly annoying, albeit that I did learnt that the whole idea of walking on the same side of the road as oncoming traffic when there isn't a footpath really breaks down when you're pushing a bike along the side of the road in peak commuter traffic travelling at 80km/hr.

I did however successfully limp the three kilometres back home, and after a quick shower and change of clothes, I drove into work arriving about an hour late an rather sad that my old faithful Trek tourer was now dead.

While mourning its departure during the course of the day, I suddenly recalled that when I bought the bike that one of the key selling points was that it came with a "lifetime frame warranty".

Rather excited by this thought, I googled "Trek Lifetime Frame warranty" and found sure enough that they did offer a lifetime frame warranty ... for bikes back to 2011.  Beyond that date, the website advised, you would need to check with them, or your original warranty that came with the bike, what the warranty was.

Now, while you may all laugh at me for being able to calculate how much I spend on my bike to the nearest cent, a side benefit of this is that unlike 99.999% of the world's population I actually keep my old accounts and files and so I still had this ...

The 2003 Trek Warranty
Yep, I still had a copy of my 2003 Trek manual, with the original warranty, and if it is to be believed then so long as I could prove it was bought from a Trek dealer and I was the original purchaser of the bike, I should be entitled to a new frame ... and guess what ... I could do both.

So last Tuesday I wheeled my bike into Ken Self Cycles and explained my rather bold call that I would like a new frame for my bike as my 12 year old frame had just departed this mortal coil, and (looking rather unconvinced about my chances of success) Chris at least said he'd put in the claim for me and see what happened.

By Wednesday they'd come back asking for original receipts or a stat dec., so I provided a Stat Dec. and supporting information provided by my accounts system which showed I paid a $200 deposit on 20 November 2003 and then paid the remaing $1,890 for the bike on 23 December 2003 ...

And now I wait ...

Now I don't know at this point if the claim will be accepted or rejected, but if I do get a new frame out of this, I just want to put it out there that it will all be because I kept all these detailed accounting records for all those years.

Long live Nerds!

2015 Bike Spend

I'm internally compelled to question and think about things, and I rarely accept what's told to me unless it strongly aligns with my own paradigm and understanding of the world.

Anyone who's read this blog for a long time will know this, and in particular they may recall my long and boring blogs about cyclist spending.

I love writing those blogs, and guess what .... this is another one!!!!!

Image Source: TeeSpring
Earlier this week I was reading an article titled "Accident rates amongst regular bicycle riders in Tasmania, Australia" (yep, that's what I do) and I stumbled across this little snippet of information:
Costs associated with bicycles

Of the 345 bicycles included in the survey 201 (58.3%) were insured. Of those insured, 119 (59.2%) required an additional premium of $ 88 (SD 115; range 12–560) per annum, in excess of the participants’ standard house and contents insurance, to cover bicycle theft or damage. In addition, participants spent $ 717 (SD 761; range 0–3850) on bicycle maintenance, equipment and clothing in the year preceding participation in the survey.
"Hmmm" ... my little analytical brain thought to itself .... "I wonder how much I spend on cycling".

Even more interesting, I wonder where I spent it ... and so with these thoughts in mind, I dived into my accounts system and pulled out all of my expenditure on cycling for 2015 ...

Now for my first cut at doing this, I pulled out all of my expenditure on cycling related activities, including our three week holiday in Japan (which was a cycling holiday), my little cycling trip to Victoria, and various other cycling related expenditure such as tassietrails, my attendance at the launceston bicycle tourism conference and associated outdoor (non-cycling specific) clothing and gear bought for the trips above and I got a number just north of ... let's just say it was a big number and that it had more than four digits in it before the decimal point.

I quickly realised that this was 10+ standard deviations away from the norm (which if you're not statistically minded, is a bit of an extreme outlier) and then I realised that this was because I wasn't comparing 'like with like' as the original study only looked at bicycle maintenance, equipment and clothing.

Phew - if I knew I spent that much money on cycling stuff (and that's not including all of my petrol, accommodation and other expenses for travelling around Tasmania), well ... I'd have to go and order myself one of these ... 

Footnote - I ordered this T-Shirt last week from TeeSpring and shall include it in my 2016 report.
Anyway, I went back into my data and removed all of that 'extra' stuff and came in with a much more justifiable $3,906 spent on bike equipment, servicing and clothing in 2015.

Although that still placed me slightly outside the survey range, I justify this on the basis that it does include $1,850 for the purchase of two bikes ($1,500 for my Norco Bigfoot and $350 for the purchase of my Dahon Folding Bike - bought second hand off Gumtree).

So I only really spent $1,826 on parts and servicing and $229 on bicycle specific clothing (note: somewhat balancing my under-exenditure in cycling clothing last year, I think I've spent nearly double that already in 2016 on new nicks, shorts, socks and shoes).

Now considering  I own nine bikes, I think only spending two and a half times the average expenditure on these things should be seen as me being a prudent individual.  Some may even call it scrooge like expenditure ...

I haven't bought this T-Shirt from TeeSpring yet - but I know I will.
Anyway, seeing I'd spent all this time pulling out all this expenditure, I was curious enough to take the next step and see how much of my money I spent locally and how much I spent online ... the eternal conundrum of the cyclist with a conscious ... do I pay more and support the local bike shop so they're there when I need them or do I save money and go online.

Now, if you'd ask me where I spend my cycling money before I did this analysis, I would have told you that Avantiplus Sandy Bay is my go to local store for parts and servicing, but I would have also said that I probably spend most of my money buying gear online through Pushy's and Wiggle and a few other sites.

Here's something that's not a surprise: if I had said that to you, I would have been wrong.

Turns out that, yes, I bought all of my cycling clothes online which isn't really a surprise as there are just so many more options online (and I am still smarting from that purchase of those over-priced arm warmers from Bike Ride in 2012), so I was right about that.

What was surprising though was that 83% of my "parts and servicing" spend last year was local, and that I only bought 17% of my stuff online.

That's a showstopper.

What surprised me even more was that, although as I sort of expected, most of my parts and servicing money ($977) was spent at AvantiPlus (52% of total spend), I actually spent over $500 on bike servicing and parts at Ride Bellerive, plus I bought a new bike there, so I actually spent most of my money at Ride Bellerive.

That's also a showstopper.

On closer examination though this did make sense because of my bridge crash where Ride Bellerive kind of saved my day and got me home (and didn't complain as I stood there half in shock bleeding over their flooring) leading to me giving them my road bike to repair as my thank you.

So it turns out that as a cyclist, I actually do quite a lot to support my local shops.

Third show stopped in as many paragraphs.

In terms of what it is doing to my bank account, well I thought this one last T-shirt says it all ...

Image Source: TeeSpring
There ends the analyis.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Rokeby Roadworks

I was very excited when I was riding into work to see a whole lot of men out digging trenches and appearing to be laying cables for the NBN in Rokeby ...

Yay, yay, yay ... NBN could finally be on its way to Lauderdale (I currently get an average speed of around 300 kbps which means it usually takes about 3 to 4 seconds to download a megabyte of data and about 10-15 seconds to upload a Mb of data.  This is very slow, and to put it in human terms it means it takes me one to two minutes to upload a decent photo and we can only watch Netflix if everyone in the house agrees and we all stop using our other electronic devices.  Sigh.

Anyway, after my morning excitement, I completely forgot about the whole NBN thing until I was riding home, hurtling down the hill from Rokeby, on a fairly gusty day, at my usual 45-50km/hr (about 10km/hr below the speed limit) and then just as a car was overtaking me with about 50cm to spare, I hit (what to me looked like just another power pole shadow across the road) but was in fact a 2cm high piece of ashphalt left from the mornings road excavation and cable laying.

With no signage or warning - I hit the ridge (shock) and found myself airborne with a car mere centimetres away from me (shock and shit).

As it turned out, I landed fine and the car went on its way oblivious to the brown stains now adorning the inside of my nicks ... but that was as much down to good luck as anything (not the brown stains obviously - they were not good luck).

Sure, I'm responsible for my own safety on the road, but in this case the road conditions had been changed by roadworks and it was done on a route which is marked as a major cycling route.

I think a 'changed road conditions' sign should have been put up, especially as I had only registered a complaint about the exact same section of road just a few months ago when they ripped up the surface on the hill and failed to put up a cyclist warning sign.

Still, I'm alive to ride another day and that's a good thing ... even more luckily I'd just ordered myself a whole new set of nicks.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Surly ECR

I may have mentioned in the past my dream to build my stable of bikes to twelve.

I may even have mentioned, in that very same post, that my dream bike could very well be the Surly Krampus 29+.

Well that was before Surly brought out the ECR ...

Now I'll be honest, the Surly ECR reminds me a bit of a moose ... it just seems like it's been put together wrong, no matter which angle you look at it from, and yet despite that I haven't been able to shake that annoying feeling that the ECR could be my perfect bike - it can take tyres up to 3 inch, it can take virtually any configuration of drive and braking system and it is built to tour ...  in a slow, rambling, not going to break down, sort of way.

I wasn't however sure about those Jones Loop handlebars .

and the $3000+ price tag was a bit daunting as well ... but who knows maybe they'll make me redundant at work and I could buy one, retire, and ride around the world for a year or three ...

Anyway, although I can't afford one, a mate of mine could, and he bought one and was kind enough tonight to let me take it for a little spin ...  (and, no, I did not beg him mercilessly until he gave it to me just to shut me up - and for once I'm telling the truth)

My little spin, turned into a slightly longer spin ...

and then just kept on going ...

The ride of this bike is unlike anything I have every ridden in my life, it just grips the ground like nothing else I have ever ridden, and I was hooked.  I took it down steep drops, up steep hills, along fast flowing coastal paths and across roots and dips and it just ate it all up, while lazily looking back at me saying "is that really all you've got?"   (It was).

The only slight concern I had with the ECR was getting lift into the bike using the Jones Loop handlebar to get over obstacles, but at the same time those would be the most comfortable touring handlebars I could imagine.

Overall I quickly fell in love with this bike and it was only the concern that I wouldn't get back in time to return it that stopped me taking it down just one more section of track ...

The only reservation I have now is whether the Surly World Troller might not be a better fit for me given it is a break down bike ...

Oh the problems I have to face.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

It's a wonderful world ... if only we noticed

I was cycling into work this morning - having set myself the rather ambitious goal of cycling 5000kms, or 100kms per week, this year - when I happened to glance up the hill towards the bridge and noticed a work-ute bristling with all sorts of safety gear parked over the bike path entrance to the bridge.

Yep - putting it out there.  Going for 5000kms this year
Which would be double what I rode in 2015.
I will accept 250 hours of riding instead of 5000kms to allow for the fact I spend a lot of time going nowhere fast
 (250 hours = 5000kms at 20km/hr)

Then I noticed a work-man beside the vehicle with a "Footpath Closed" sign in his hand and I immediately had one of those "Oh, frick, feck, bugger" moments as I realised they'd closed the cycling lane again (it was closed on Tuesday) and I'd have to detour off under the bridge and ride up the other side (which would cause me a whole two minutes delay!).

But then something wonderful happened - the guy saw me (still a couple of hundred metres away) and he waved me towards him and then onto the bridge ... before putting the sign up behind me.

That man made my day, my week and my year from his small act of kindness.

It was as I was reflecting on this small, but wonderful, act that I recalled what a wonderful day I'd had on the bike without even realising it.

I recalled the car that had come up behind me on Clarence Street earlier on and then just slowed down to let me move out and around a parked car, before politely passing me as I pulled back out of his or her way.

I recalled a lady walking on the Clarence Foreshore Trail that must have heard me coming up behind her on the dodgy section of track running through the yacht club gravel car park and whom, without me even asking, stepped off the track for a few moments to let me slip past.

I remembered another lady out walking her dog a bit further along the track, and how this time I was the one able to slow down and show thoughtfulness as her dog unexpectedly ran across the path in front of me, pulling its extend-a-leash in front of me like a tightrope ready to hurl me off my bike, and how instead of hurling abuse, I'd chosen to smile at the lady, say hi to the dog, tell them it wasn't a problem and that these things happen ... and then we both went on our individual ways.

In this world where we so often focus on the negatives and whatever unsubstantiated, ill-reported sensational tit-bit that is tweeted or facebooked, I want to thank that man on the bridge who opened my eyes this morning to all the wonderful people that surround us that we just so often don't see.

Thank you.