On yer Bike!

This week has seen me back in the saddle again.  A couple of weeks of illness, and another two weeks off the pushie due to insane humidity levels, and rain (real live, lovely rain!) has made me become a bit too used to riding the motorbike to and from work, and up town. 

This week, the good folk at CQ had sent me all the brochures for this years Cycle Queensland ’09 Ride from Toowoomba to Toowoomba, and I must admit I started toying with the idea of doing it.  For the past month I’ve been swinging between, ‘Nah’, and ‘Maybe’.  But seeing all those photos, the ride route, and the fact that it’s through some pretty countryside… liberally sprinkled with old bush pubs, I must admit the blood started to pump a little harder. 

So, just in case, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared…  you know, just in case…  With this in mind, I dragged myself out to the shed last Sunday morning at 8’ish, threw a leg over Pubtruck and sailed off for a ride round town.  Following a tried and trusted route (no dogs) I quickly found my rythym and was enjoying myself very much.  The morning was clear and bright, the roads virtually empty of traffic, and the old girl was clicking along smoothly.  Nice. 

There was no breeze and the humidity was suddenly a solid force to be dealt with.  I quickly gulped down my first water bottle and was half way through the second one, when it dawned on me that perhaps I should re-evaluate the distance I intended to ride this morning.  Swinging off the road out of town I slipped down to the marina instead and sat in the shade of a large fig tree swigging heartily from my newly refilled water bottles.  Sweat was pouring off me by the bucket load.  It struck me that I was the only person on a bike down here this morning.  The reason for that would be that I, am an idiot.  All the other riders would have been out here at dawn, or would be holding off until this afternoon when the sea breeze kicks in. 

After re-filling the bottles I took a couple of snaps and had a good hard look at old Pubtruck.  There’s one remaining Giant CRX-4 for sale at my local bike shop.  It’s a great looking bike, got all the bells and whistles, comfortable riding position, a very practical seat, and it rides like it’s on greased rails.  The price is great, and I’ve justified buying it many times over… but, for some reason I’m still very attached to ol’ Pubtruck.  She was my first ‘new’ bike.  Not 2nd hand, not a Frankenstein built from the carcasses of other bikes, but brand spanking new. She’s been modified over the years, and has served me well as a work bike, weekend cruiser, up town courier, and occasional dirt track adventurer.  Would the new bike be as versatile?  Could I ride it out to work and get it covered in muck everyday?  Would it handle rutted tracks and hills covered in ruts and loose, snotty gravel?     

Pubtruck:  Note the milk crate 'carry all'.  Yep, practical and classy!

Pubtruck: note the milk crate 'carry all'. Yep, practical and classy!

Then it struck me; what would my grandad have done?  He wouldn’t even entertain the thought of buying a new bike while the old one was still servicable.  “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” was his motto.  It is not what the politicians want to hear us saying these days.  No, they’d prefer us to spend, spend, spend in order to keep our ailing economy afloat.  Unfortunately it’s that mindset that is filling our dumps with ‘stuff’ as we chase after the latest, shiniest, most up to date, better than ever, items that we ‘simply must have’.  Could I get rid of Pubtruck?   

As I cruised along the track next to the water I gave the handle bars a small pat, “You’re safe for now old girl,” I muttered. 

She was so happy to hear this, that she threw the chain off when I kicked up to the next gear.  I returned home half an hour later, hands covered in chain grease, and a smile on my face.  Maybe I could be the proud owner of two bikes?
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