Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Exercise report day 4

Last night I went home from work, changed into my bright-yellow-road safety tee shirt and cycling track pants and went for a ride from Sawyers Bay to town, around a bit then back home. Nice...
I have enjoyed cycling since my dad bought me a rusty-single-speed-28inch-back-peddling-brake "Leader" when I was about 8- 9? years old. At first I could not reach the seat. Then the handle bars were so rusty they broke and I crashed on the ground. That bike saw me through until I left school. It was my freedom. I could do tricks on it. I went for quite extensive bike rides. I slid over once and was concussed. My mum got a phone call to say that her son was down the road struggling to get on his bike again, but kept collapsing. I woke up hours later in bed at home with a concerned looking doctor peering at me, and a very sore head. As kids we made "dirt track bikes" up out of stuff from the rubbish tip. We had a track or two in the bush and we would time each other to do ten laps. One track had a corner on it that if you missed it you ended up in the creek. When we broke frames or wheels we just returned to the rubbish tip for new parts.

In 1965 when I left school I went on a Christmas/new year holiday up to the Waikato and there did some work on the back of a hay truck. I saved 30 pound! I came back to Dunedin and started my plumbing apprenticeship. My first pay was 4pound 11shillings! Mum let me off paying board that week and I was able to purchase a shining new "Rudge" ten speed bike. (33pound ten shillings!) They were very rare items then. I still have it on a wind trainer in the garage. It was my transport to and from work. It was my escape in the weekends. I went on even longer bike rides. It was the way I relieved stress. I once rode it in to go to a country and western show with my girlfriend. (now wife) New trousers and all I was faster than the cars around town and would duck and dive through Saturday night traffic. ( I was often chased by friends in cars but I could always out manoeuvre them) This night I crashed! I recall sitting through this concert with a torn knee in my expensive new trousers, and a growing patch of blood trickling down my leg and elbow. On my way home after midnight on Saturday nights, I could ride along with my hands in my pockets, doing zigzags between the white lines on the centre of the road. I loved riding, and even in my first ministry when I was uptight and depressed, I would hop on that bike and race out to the flat country roads around Palmerston North and let off steam.

I still enjoy getting out on a bike and, including the "Rudge", I have three old bikes of various sorts. My newest bike (the fourth) I have had for about 18 months. It is a cheap $100 "mountain bike" (Though it warns about using it off road???) with 21 gears from K mart. It has already earned its cost. It has always been a dream of mine when I retire, to take time out and ride the length of New Zealand. We'll see.... but at the moment I still love spining the pedals, just as I did when I was a kid.

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