Thursday, October 4, 2007

the new wheels

This was the only remaining available vehicle when I called my good friends at Alpha last friday... so this is the ride that Kate and I took to the beach last weekend. A flatbed truck or 'ute' like this one is the most common style of truck here, all pick ups are called 'utes'... sport utility vehicles are called 'four wheel drives'.

But that's not what this post is about. Actually, before I get to it let me show you a picture of downtown Brizzy taken from a spot about 50 meters from our apartment. Kate's fancy new law firm is right in the middle of it. She has a 25 minute walk to work, across a foot bridge (not on the picture, to the left) and then along the river through that park. I'm pretty proud of her, she scored a sweet job.We also took the ute to the local marina where I took this sweet candid shot of a typical Queensland father-son Sunday afternoon. People are big on fishing here, and sailing. I have never seen this many boats in one place; might have been a few thousand.

Anyway... to the point of this post: my new wheels:

Until three weeks ago I had never bought a bicycle for myself. When I was a kid I had a few and at Queen's I got a hand-me-down BMX from Chike which was pretty sweet but rarely used. Here, I have suddenly found myself cycling to work (45 min) and back (40 min... an elevation thing) every day. Riding a bicycle is not fun. Some people will disagree but I can’t relate to them. I think it is painful, sometimes very painful. But I'm motivated and I expect to continue as long as I’m here even though the Brisbane bus system is a very cheap and convenient alternative. Today (during the bike ride) I considered the source of my motivation… and now I’m going to go on a rant:

As an adult, everything that I have ever willingly done for me (so excluding things done for Kate or family and friends) falls into one of these three categories:

1. necessary & productive
2. fun & productive
3. fun

My point is this: exercise and cardio has no place on my list. I have never liked it. Jogging or cycling for an hour to get from point A to point A feels like a huge waste of time. Cardio is obviously productive from a health perspective and if you consider it fun, so be it (#2), if you think it is necessary, fine (#1)… but for me it usually doesn’t fit on the list. (The exception being watching 24 while on the elliptical machine - #2.)

I have no problem with exercise while training and competing in volleyball or soccer but take away the ball and the opponent, or the motivation to improve and win, and I am no longer interested. But now that the bike can be a primary vehicle for the entire year I find myself sitting firmly in category #1… getting to work is necessary, saving some money and getting some exercise are productive. Plus there's the efficiency of getting three birds with one stone which feels good. I like doing multiple things and having a lot of stuff on the go… I have had a good friend call this attitude a path to “mediocrity” and maybe that is somewhat true.

So I now own a decent bike and I’m also quickly becoming a bike mechanic. I also found need for a set of saddle bags and a pair of those padded cycling tights which I still can’t wear straight faced unless I have a second pair of loose shorts over top (and I sincerely hope that my attitude in this area does not change).

Let me finish with some legal jargon: the Aussies don’t mess around with bicycle safety… helmets are a necessity for everyone, as are front and rear lights, and best rule of all: you can lose your driver’s license if you are caught operating a bicycle while intoxicated (and it’s 0.05 not 0.08 here :)

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