The Accidental Experiment

Remember the fable about the tortoise and the hare? Aesop the storyteller from ancient Greece invented this little tale to show that slow and steady wins the race.

Well we weren’t racing. And as the tortoises, we weren’t riding that slowly. And the hare, a most unlikely hare at that, wasn’t trying to drive her car that fast. It was really just an accidental experiment that happened on the way to the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival.

The morning traffic was snaking through the main road out of Byron Bay. At the roundabout near the police station, we rode confidently heading out of town towards the festival site. A friendly Beep! Beep! made me look around. A small black sedan with a smiling face and a waving arm passed by, giving us a wide berth (an extra metre for being friends we later laughed). We waved back and pedalled on, perhaps a little faster, excited to be heading to Day 1 of the festival.

It’s about five kilometres out to the festival site which by bicycle takes us about 20 minutes. Along the way we pass car after car after car as they queue two kilometres along the road into the festival site and even further back towards the highway (see the video below for a glimpse of the ride to the festival).

Being the first day, we have to queue to receive orange wristbands signalling our 3 day passes. We lock our bikes inside the festival fence, check the program and head over to the Feros marquee to watch Kate Grenville, Barrie Cassidy and Ramona Kavol talk about writing a memoir of a parent’s life, known and unknown. The session is yet to start but the tent is already full. We stand behind the last row of white plastic chairs.

Four minutes later (I took note for good reason) a friendly familiar face stands beside us. We three laugh loud.

“You beat me!” says Ms Hare.

This is my first video so if you have any trouble accessing or playing it, please let me know so I can learn how to make it better. Thanks!

20 Comments on “The Accidental Experiment

  1. An edifying old fable with a new application! Video told the story well. Glad the tortoises arrived serene and safely. Those parked cars worried me for a bit especially when you were riding one-handed!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Unfurling 🙂 No need to worry about one-handed riding… I have a camera mount on my handlebars. Although the little selfie section was filmed one-handed but with fewer cars around 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous Gail! Too bad more people don’t combine riding with writing. I find it the best way to fire up the synapses and get the ideas flowing. On average, I reckon I get at least one great idea per 30 minutes of cycling 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that’s a great statistic Paula! I’m the same. Being out on the bike seems to free the mind… well not when I’m weaving around cars like I was in the video. But if I’m cruising along a cycle way or footpath, then ideas, solutions and interesting reflections float in, for sure. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess Ms Hare will have to go by bike in future to gain the extra 4 minutes. But one advantage of sitting in the car was that I was already listening to the Writers Festival broadcast 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well that’s another unexpected curve in this accidental experiment of who gets to the festival first. Did Ms. Hare actually meet the festival first through the broadcast?

      Finding: it’s never simply black or white… we meet the colours of the rainbow yet again 🙂


  4. TG (your new name…Tortoise Gail), I enjoyed both the story and the video. The video enhanced your words, and like other readers I did hold my breathe at time when you appeared to squeeze between the curb and the cars. Great action, that “spices” up the story. Using the music in the background of the video is a good idea – could the other road sound be muted. Just a thought.

    Safe riding TG and may you continue to lead the pack.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TG has quite a ring to it 🙂
      Thanks for your impressions of the video Maree. It was a lot of fun learning how to put the film together. I haven’t yet worked out how to tone down the road noise – but it’s on my list.
      Glad you enjoyed the words and moving pictures 🙂


  5. Oh I didn’t realise that vicarioulsy riding a bike through thick byron traffic would be so engaging and watchable? Was it the sound track, the back drop of the fable, the tight squeeze or just that yet again bikes rule? This year for the first time I rode to the festival every day and loved all of the above…thanks Gail for the rippling waves of consciousness that your experiment is having on the universe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 Thanks Belinda. I really enjoyed seeing you riding your bicycle to the festival. And, by the number of bikes parked at the entrance, I think there were quite a few more people riding this year.

      Thanks for your lovely words Belinda.


  6. Another great post, but like some other commenters I did feel nervous watching cars quite near you! My middle name is “tortoise”. 😉 Nice to see peddle power winning out. Sometimes I’m the one sitting in a traffic jam on the Centenary Highway leaving Brisbane and have to smile at all the cyclists speeding past us on the separated bike lane. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can imagine you as ‘tortoise’ Jane… Your blog posts have a very leisurely feeling to them; it makes them very enjoyable reads.

      I used a GoPro for this film and it has a ‘goldfish bowl’ effect that seems to make things wrap around more closely than they actually are. It was close but not so risky as to attract a contract from Red Bull anytime soon 🙂 Hmmm…unless they have a category for middle-aged women doing soft urban adventures 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great video! Scary to watch you squeeze past the parked cars. Very brave and committed to your experiment Gail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Roz, it was great fun filming and editing my first video. It definitely looked more daring than it actually was 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it, thanks!


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