The Best Laid Plans…

The view down to Wisemans Ferry

The view down to Wisemans Ferry

The plan was simple, get up, spend Friday riding 200km then enjoy the weekend.

The weather was warm and the ride out of Sydney to Wisemans Ferry, along the Hawkesbury River and up to the Central Coast was great.

As I spend more time on my bike and cover greater distances my confidence for my trip to France is building.  My goal is to go over and enjoy the challenge of climbing up big mountains, every minute I spend on the bike is working towards this.

I was feeling very pleased with myself, until 123km into the ride  I noticed a problem. A spoke had worked loose and had buckled my rear wheel. A closer inspection and this was not something I was going to be able to fix to ride home. Fortunately I could limp to a nearby cafe to work out what my next move needed to be. As it turned out my only option was a $70 taxi ride to Gosford Station and an hour’s train trip home.

Now confidence on the bike is one thing, confidence in your Lycra off the bike is a different skill set. Let’s face it  those of us who wear Lycra are largely tolerated by others in society. When you are on the bike it makes sense, if you are off the bike as long as you are on a beaten track you are not that much of a novelty.

Standing on Gosford train station, smelling a little ripe in your Lycra, you are to be avoided at all cost. I don’t think the passengers waiting for the 12.48pm to Sydney Central  really cared about my Three Peaks Jersey and  how I had earned the right to wear this.

I have written about my dalliance with White Lycra before, and after today I think unless you are a member of the professional peloton you should give it a miss. Feeling confident when I set off I opted for the white Lycra shorts. You have to have a certain degree of confidence in yourself to wear white Lycra in the first place. On the bike I was comfortable in them, it never entered into my realm of consciousness that I would have to enter back into normal society and catch a train with other folk.

Apart from announcing to the world that you have arrived, another drawback of white Lycra is it shows the dirt, not a fashion statement, just a practical observation. So it was only after a few smirks from a few passengers that I realized that I had at some stage unconsciously adjusted myself and had a great oily black handprint on my shorts where my  “Crown Jewels” were located. Robyn has already accused  me of looking like a naked Crystal Ken in my shorts so it’s not as though I have much to draw people’s attention to in the first place.

Now , not only was I a sad man in Lycra on a train station, I was a sad man who obviously liked to touch himself in public, on a train station. At least I had a bike with me as some form of defence.

On the train I skulked in the front carriage with my bike. The only saving grace was that the plethora of school kids who use the North Shore line were still at school, I fear I may have made the 6 o’clock news otherwise.

Finally  on making North Sydney I completed my walk of shame through the last remnants of the Friday lunchtime office crowd to the safety of home.

I guess these things happen and it’s a good reminder not to start getting to sure of myself. The reality is that I couldn’t do anything about the bike, it’s just one of those things, I can do something about the shorts, the white Lycra is now can relegated to turbo sessions only.

Broken Bike

Broken Bike

You can support my foolishness in France by making a donation at  to a very worthwhile cause The  William Wates Memorial Trust