To ride or not to ride – Part 2
We agreed to meet our friends late Sunday afternoon at their apartment at Main Beach. I figured that if they’ve travelled 36 hours on a plane from New York, then my riding twenty kilometres up the road to Main Beach is only fair.
Though, as Sunday approached, my apprehension grew. Each day, the heat and humidity was intensifying. Thunderstorms were brewing. They were forecast for Sunday. That’s the other question that comes up in my mind these days. “Will the weather let me ride?”
I’ve missed yoga classes because an afternoon thunderstorm made it unsafe to ride. Perhaps this Sunday was going to be the same. I just had to wait until Sunday came. That’s one of the good things about this experiment; it engenders greater presence in the day. The unique rhythm of each day overrides the preconceived plans that ‘thought’ had mapped out for me.
The unique rhythm of each day overrides the preconceived plans that ‘thought’ had mapped out.
The temperatures were rising. Most conversations began with some comment about the weather being so hot. I had two meetings organised in Brisbane for Saturday and travelled there by bus and train. Perspiration becomes your friend in this type of weather. It has to. There’s really no way to avoid it if you have to move around. So does an umbrella and that’s what I used for shade as I walked across the Victoria Bridge just after midday.
After sitting in air-conditioning for a couple of hours, the heat was tangible and reflected back up at me from the concrete and bitumen beneath my feet. Despite walking quite slowly, I started to feel weakened by the intensity of the surround heat. I focused on my breath, slowed my pace even a little more, sensitized my skin to the breeze and let my perspiration do its best to cool me. I felt relieved to find shade under a tree while I waited for the pedestrian lights to change on the other side of the bridge. This was an uncomfortable feeling and added to the disquiet I had about riding the next day.
Sunday arrived. The humidity was in the nineties. I was wearing some residual tiredness from the past week. A debate was sloshing around in my mind: I was thinking of not riding. Was I being a wimp or was it wise not to ride?
At some point, it looked like the thunderstorm might break early in the day leaving the afternoon clearer and cooler. That didn’t happen.
I felt very disappointed at the prospect of not cycling. I had to make a decision. Do I ride?
If we were to ride, we’d need to leave in thirty minutes. I went onto the verandah and sat in the cane chair. There was a light breeze from the east-south-east; a slight tailwind, I thought. I looked at the gum trees, watched the birds, in the hope that some clear direction would land on me, seep up from my insides to switch on the light.
Then it did.
Which story would I prefer to tell?
During my Masters research, I learnt about making decisions that align with my values. An everyday gauge that works every time is this: “Would I be comfortable seeing my choice reported on the evening news?” I guess the digital equivalent is: “would I be comfortable reading it on my news app?”
Now, do I ride or not is hardly newsworthy, nor is it a matter of being ethical or not ethical. However, it is about aligning with the values inherent in this project, where it’s possible.
So did I ride? Yes! It took seventy-one minutes to get there.
Was it hot? You bet it was. Sunday’s minimum temperature was 25.3 degrees, the highest minimum recorded for the month. Officially, the day’s maximum was 34 degrees but along the way we encountered much hotter temperatures than that.
We arrived at Main Beach red-faced and sweaty even after taking a quick swim to cool off and change clothes.
After warm, sticky greetings, our friends swept us into the refreshingly cool air of their holiday high-rise apartment with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, affectionately exclaimed “you’re nuts” for riding in 34 degree heat and 96% humidity, then poured tumblers of iced water and glasses of a very chilled Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc to toast our friendship.
Two and half hours later, the night air carried us home with skies clear and hearts bright.
And the thunderstorm? Well, it never arrived.
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