All right, short-attention-span millennials, you don't have to read any further. Forty-five (45) was the number of other cyclists I saw on this year's 72km December 25 ride.

Actually quite an improvement over last year's dismal 20 in 60km, but still well under my benchmark 1-cyclist/km, way down on any other holiday of the year, certainly far fewer than on any normal weekend on the North Shore. And, as usual, a hell of a waste of the least-trafficked morning of the year on the roads. Will you pedalling people ever learn?!?

For those with pre-millennial attention spans, here's some observations on the ride.

I awoke obscenely early today. Sparrows had hardly had time to do what sparrows do early in the morning when first light brushes aside the cobwebs of darkness, before I fell out of bed and into my cycling attire.

"Five-frigging-a.m., on a holiday... What hell is this? I coulda slept in", I thought, as I liberated the Lynskey from its bike-room hook and wheeled it into the pre-sunrise gloom. "My reader is depending on me. I must do this", I told myself as I hit the first hill, cold and still barely awake.

A forest of traffic signs along Pacific Hwy morse-coded their warnings back at me in the light from my super-bright front flasher. There was precious little motor traffic to be blinded by it, and even fewer cyclists. It was several kilometres before I spotted my first rider, cruising along ahead of me, and several km more before I managed to pass him (through superior knowledge of short cuts rather than extra leg-power, I hasten to add).

I was on my once-favourite Church Point circuit (via Wakehurst Parkway and back via McCarrs Creek and Mona Vale Rds). I'd eliminated the Wakehurst Pkwy part of the ride in the last couple of years, going via Pittwater Rd instead, due to the nightmare roadworks around the new Northern Beaches Hospital. Today, however, I thought the absence of traffic might allow me to check out how bad the RMS has managed to make life for cyclists in that area. The good news is that it may not be so bad on Wakehurst Parkway except between Warringah Rd and Frenchs Forest Rd, if the works ever finish. The not-good news is that there will be wall-to-wall traffic most of the time between Warringah Rd and Frenchs Forest Rd with who-knows-what provision for bike riders. There's very little thought for cyclists evident in the lane provision in the last 200m leading up to the Warringah Rd traffic lights from the Seaforth direction.

All remained uneventful and rider-free down to Pittwater Rd, North Narrabeen. Not one rider to be seen in the entire distance. Well, it wasn't much after six a.m...

Things picked up a little on the way to Mona Vale with the odd other cyclist coming the other way. My count was still short of double figures until McCarrs Creek Rd where a steady trickle could be counted descending from the ridges ahead of me.

Cyclist #14 cruised past me on the climb with a cheery "Merry Christmas". At first I thought he must have forgotten to dress for the ride because he appeared to be wearing pyjamas. I attempted to focus on his rapidly departing rear-end (for research purposes only!) and decided that the pattern all over his shorts may have incorporated "Santa Clauses". As there was no way I could chase him down on the climb, I'll never know for sure. Now I feel old...

It was good to note an increased number of female riders compared to previous years. One was the young girl riding what was clearly a Christmas bike on a footpath, chaperoned by a parent. Yay, future cyclist!

I made sure to keep an eye out for open cafés en route. You know how important they are to a numerically healthy cycling population. Again  I saw one on the Pacific Hwy at Lindfield. (It was open last year IIRC.) There was a second on High St, Willoughby, a short detour off my usual route. It had a long queue out the door and along the footpath. The coffee may be damned good but, as far as I could tell, not one of the patrons was a cyclist. I didn't stop to fix that, either, so can't confirm the coffee quality. Soz. 

That's about it. The honour of being the last cyclist I spotted went to the young lady waiting to cross via the pedestrian lights at Mowbray and Pacific, in Chatswood. The traffic was picking up there, even at 0830, so I, too, was wondering if I should bail from the road...

I wish my loyal reader a merry December 25 and a happy next year.

Views: 174

Comment by Bill Parker on December 25, 2018 at 10:38am

Thank you Neil, much appreciated, after a light lunch and a glass of water or two I will attempt to get out myself, looking forward to your additional observations

Comment by Neil Alexander on December 25, 2018 at 5:58pm

Now with added observations, for pre-millennial attention spans.  ;-)

I mean it's longer.

Comment by PeterT on December 25, 2018 at 6:58pm

Merry "Christmas Day" ; - it's ok you can say it ; it is after all, the official Australian public holiday name that everyone has a off day for :-) 


Comment by Dan on December 29, 2018 at 2:10pm

Hurrah! Thanks for this. Reading about your Christmas Day ride is part of my Christmas tradition. One day I might even go for a ride myself. Maybe.

Comment by dr bean on January 15, 2019 at 8:03pm

'...I fell out of bed and into my cycling attire'

Well! That was either extremely careless, or highly strategic. (Or maybe both?) Thanks Neil, it's such a relief to know that you're out there asking the hard questions on our behalf! :-)


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