Cycling in Sydney Australia
You didn't go for a ride this morning (Sunday), did you?
I know this because I would have noticed another rider, or two, on the road.
Uncharacteristically, I exaggerate slightly because there were other cyclists, just very few. In fact the roads were as devoid of my fellow pedallers as they seem to be every December 25. After a group of four passed me at the top of my street as I turned onto Pacific Highway shortly before 7a.m., I saw no more for about eight kilometres.
I am at something of a loss to explain today's no-show. I mean, it was a lovely clear, crisp, fine morning, with excellent air-quality, ideal for practising the gentle art of cyclism.
As I rode to my tandem partner's house, I noted the streets were also unusually empty of pedestrians, many of whom, bizarrely, seem to delight in walking for exercise on these early weekend mornings, and of cars as well, though any number of them at all is always too many.
My stoker, Andrew (OAM), was well rugged up for winter riding, as was I. We always are, given the inevitable windchill factor of the 70 km/h plunge off Pacific Hwy into the Lane Cove River valley.
The Garmin registered under 5-degrees Celsius at the top of the descent and the wind generated by our passage seemed to cut through the layers a little more than usual as we dived deep into the frigid pool of air near the valley floor. My nose was running and my face ached rather painfully. I casually mentioned to Andrew that the temperature readout had also descended, into negative numbers. His mumbled response was unintelligible.
"What did you say, mate?" I called back.
"Ma mouf nob worging", I think he said. Strange, I thought.
As we progressed through Lane Cove National Park, the normally cyclist- and pedestrian-thronged Riverside Drive was mostly empty. Only a very few hardy souls were about. After 5km, I noted that the ratio of cyclists to pedestrians had been exactly two-to-one. Literally. We had passed two cyclists and one pedestrian in the full length of the Park's main road.
There was clearly something going on here. But what?
My numb hands (despite full-fingered "WindStopper" gloves over ordinary cycling mitts) and toes were becoming painful and my control of the tandem in the winding sections seemed sub-par.
Looking down, I watched the Garmin's temperature readout flick over from minus 2.9 to minus 3.0 degrees. Well, that's a record, I thought.
"Hey, Andrew, guess what!", I called over our wind-noise. "I've figured it out. It's f***ing cold this morning."
His response sounded like "I habn't nobiced."
I doubt I could have stood much more of these conditions, so was glad to see the beginning of the climb out of the valley to Lane Cove Rd.
Temperature readings reversed their trend, slowly rising on the Garmin's screen, but nature strips outside the park still all seemed to sport a white sheen of frost. We passed ovals which appeared to have ice sheets for surfaces. The temperature only returned to positive figures as we crossed Victoria Rd at West Ryde and was still only at 6-degrees when we returned to Andrew's house.
So... you probably did the right thing if you stayed in bed rather than going for a ride today. You have less to talk about... but at least no frostbite.