This is my new steed, Oliver Reed. Isn’t he handsome? Look at his dark, brooding beauty. He’s a ‘roadie’ (designed for the road, not a fatarse in black who tunes guitars for a living), and goes faster than most other bikes on the road.
Since I bought him three weeks ago I’ve done nothing but take to the streets thumbing my nose at The Man. Can you imagine the rubbernecking that’s been going on? On a mount like mine, all I do is a few vague pedals and I’m off for kilometres, taking the air and nodding at complete strangers in a comradely fashion.
I’ve discovered a whole subculture that I only vaguely knew existed, and, stuck in a car behind a middle-aged man heaving in his lycra panties, previously had some distain for. Not only that, but there’s a whole attitude amongst my friends I never realised. And they’re all completely in opposition to one another. Did you know that bells are like, super daggy? Kickstands are even worse – they cut down your speed. What about baskets in the front or back? That’s fine, IF YOU’RE AN OLD LADY.
It doesn’t end there – do you get into the city via Canning Street or Royal Parade? Either way, you’re a mug. And if you wear those old shorts for long enough, you’re going to start chafing in places you don’t need chafing. Get a pair of lycra shorts with a big sanitary pad in the middle (a la the ‘80s). And even worse, don’t wear any dacks with them. Do you eschew traffic lights or linger nervously at intersections? Whatever answer you give, you are a total square.
Ultimately, I care not – my bike shits over all others.
To push things a bit further, I joined the ranks of Melbourne’s lycra elite this weekend and had a crack at the MS Society Summer Cycle. What a funny bunch of synthetically-clad folk! All stretching their hammies and poring over discounted jerseys and forking out large sums of cash. It took three hours to travel 40km around the city, and I even took on the West Gate Bridge without too much trouble.
Brings you into contact with the general public:
Well, duh. But isn’t it peculiar how you can be slightly raised off the ground on a frame of metal and all of a sudden people want to chit-chat with you at lights, on the streets, wherever. It’s like having a mohawk, a Pee-Wee Herman t-shirt or a wooden leg; it’s a novelty.
Molto eye contact with the young gents:
Ah, Merri Creek. Home of bearded beauties exercising their Staffies of an evening. They’re probably all married, but a cat may look at a king.
It’s a massive ‘up yours’ to the reality of transport in Melbourne:
It really feels that satisfying every time you ride. I now know that Annoi’s house (home of fine foods and liquor) is 35 minutes away, and will always be 35 mins. Fuck you Connex, Yarra Trams and Yellow Cabs.
Double entendres ensue:
As I must keep myself amused, why not take Oliver Reed for a ride daily, give him free rein, mount my stallion and watch him move fast?
Bike shop gents:
The chap who sold me Oliver was played by Ben Stiller, playing a bike shop guy. Many chaps drifted in and out, poring over saddles and whatnots. I think there may be riches therein.
Can think your little thoughts:
It’s the perfect time to assemble blog posts, sing lustily, ring your bell at long-suffering hausfraus rumbling along with their oversized prams and cast your sitcom. Or check out other people’s gear and think ‘wow that kickstand and daggy basket really must slow her down’.
Garage sales/hard rubbish even more accessible:
Every trip is a wee adventure:
Well I’m still finding out about stuff like Canning Street and so on. But I have found myself in some odd and random places. Like the many pubs found in the north. Or peering into people’s windows at twilight, one of my favourite pastimes.
Hey, I spend a lot of time on this frizz. It can be dispiriting to have these elaborate curls flattened by something as unattractive as a bike helmet.
‘Only horses sweat, men perspire and women glow’ once said some utter tool. I think the closest they ever got to a woman was a picture of Grace Kelly. Or a blow up doll. But I’m not mad keen on arriving at my destination trying to look fetching with a big sweat patch on my arse. Or shaking a clammy hand with a client.
Only certain short skirts can be worn while riding him:
One’s wardrobe can be limited on Oliver Reed, would you believe. Nothing like trying to dismount and having to hitch your skirt up to your waist. As much of my fashion revolves around short items, this needs a re-think.
These make you go faster, but you still feel every bump on the road.
Dogs off leash:
I get annoyed by this, not because it’s AGAINST THE LAW, but because I do genuinely love the hairy beasties and would be quite distraught if I hit one of them. I also don’t appreciate the dirty looks you get from the owners when their dogs go near your wheels. Train it properly or put it on the damn leash!
People can nick stuff off it:
Every time I lock up I have to remove both lights, the vulvulator and make sure the front wheel is tethered. This is becoming a giant pain in the arse, but apparently people will steal anything. When I go to the pub I lock him up within eyesight and gaze at him lovingly.
More pros than cons, I reckon. There’d better be – after yesterday I’m sitting on about three cushions.