I’m riding a Cross City 4, which I bought in 2012 to commute to work and replace my old mountain bike. The first day I rode in, it was -5 degrees and I was too stubborn to quit and drive, so I toughed it out instead. I did the same for the rest of winter and didn’t have any cycling friends, so it wasn’t much fun. Then the motorcycle came along and I left my poor pushy hanging on my wall for two years.
I eventually learned the error of my ways, and picked up cycling again when I moved to Tonga. I was part of an Australian Volunteer group (AVID) and made some pretty cool friends. This picture was from the end of the program, so that’s why we look so ridiculously tanned. A quick introduction, going clockwise from me, we have: Guy (my housemate and an all-round cool guy), Leo (cycling extraordinaire) and Conrad (IT genius).
They taught me heaps of cool stuff and on our weekend rides they’d block the cyclonic headwinds, tell stories and act as decoys when aggro dogs came after us. I probably have too many photos and stories to share in this category, but I’ll include the worst and best one.
I rode with Leo to the beach and the blowholes, and about 50km later, the steel bolt holding my seat to its post snapped clean in half. We were due for a break anyway, so we sat on the side of the road and ate peanut butter sandwiches and kumala (purple sweet potato). We had a go at attaching the seat with some spare electrical cabling (a local gave it to us as he passed by), but it didn’t quite work. Luckily Tongatapu is as flat as a pancake and Leo was as stubborn as I was, so instead of hitchhiking back like normal people, I crouched over my bike, and Leo pushed me while he cycled, all the way home.
This is one of my favourite Tonga memories… I was two weeks away from leaving, and there was one thing left on my Tongan bucket list, cycle around the whole island. It was my first century and we were pretty pumped. We took the photo at the 90km mark (out of 110km) and tried to not look completely knackered. Although 17km later, I stacked it, went over the handlebars and learned that getting gravel graze in an environment with 95%+ humidity is equally painful and gross. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of that.
I only left Tonga three months ago, since then I’ve just been racking up kms in Perth, my hometown and Canberra, my other home. Now that my bike and I are best friends again, we’re getting packed for New Zealand and getting amped up for some adventure.