Becoming a cyclist

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Joel Archer is the author of the cycling blog Tales from the Abyss.  Random thoughts on about anything.  Joel has put together this great piece on what it was like becoming a cyclist.

Words and images Joel Archer

I have no idea how you “officially” becomes a Cyclist. I guess it’s a transition, which involves looking out your window each day when you wake up and start planning your next ride. It’s a slow and steady descent into the dark and mischievous world that I’m proud to be a part of.  Maybe I “officially” became a Cyclist when a motorist yelled abusive language at me, as he passed by, going in the opposite direction. It was a totally surreal experience, as I instantly looked around to find the source of this man’s tirade, only to work out that it was me. Ah well, the politics of envy. Obviously I’m far better looking than this guy, and he was threatened. Can’t help genetics.

The thought of motorists, who seem angrier by the minute at the thought of someone with 2 wheels and without an engine dare expect to share the road with them. Outrage. Even more outrage at the idea that we look better than them. Unheard of. Bloody Cyclists. Think they own the road. Drown them. Burn them. Vile creatures.

As a kid, I learnt to ride on a BMX which I received as a Christmas present. I enjoyed it, and rode it often, along with the other kids in my street, and the kids at school. As I got older in my teenage years, when my parents moved us out of the city and to a little town near Ballarat, I had a racer, which was an old steel frame that I would ride around on the weekends and after school.  Bikes to me back then were always a utility, a method of transport. It was a fun method of transport, but I didn’t see myself as a “Cyclist” like I do today.

By the time I had reached the age of 35, the scales were the wrong side of 100. In my mind I could make up a dozen excuses as to how this had happened: tired from work, not enough time to excersise, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Deep down I knew it was all nonesense, and that if I wanted a change, then I had to get out and make it happen. I had no desire to start working out at a gym, it just didn’t interest me, but my bike, well, I always enjoyed it in the past, so I figured, why not? Head out for a week and see how it feels. Well, it felt great. From then on my cycling took on a life of it’s own.

I had my good rides, and my bad rides, sometimes it felt like I was succeeding, sometimes it felt like I wasn’t making much ground, but I’m always striving to be a better rider. My usual rides follow pretty much the same routine, and the same destinations around Melbourne. As great as all this sounds, it doesn’t quite compare to heading out of town. Doesn’t matter where the destination is, just to get out and ride somewhere different, somewhere new, is an adventure in itself which I always look forward to.  As for the future, well, some of my friends have asked me about racing, and whether or not I’d give it a go. At this stage it’s a no, I don’t think I’m anywhere near a good enough rider, but in life I never say never to anything. What I’m really looking forward to is to get out and have a crack at all the big ones.  Donna Buang & all of the great climbs that make up the 7 Peaks. I’ll get there! It’s just setting aside the time.

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