To my mind, there’s nothing more beautiful than riding at night. The darker and quieter the better.
Last Friday, spurned on by building this website and reading cycling blogs on other sites, I sat on my CRX-1 and rode. Throughout the day. To various places. From my place in Como to feed the family cat in Melville. Then to my Northbridge office and, despite the wishes of an horrific head-wind, to dinner at an old school friend’s place in Leeming (where I discovered that people get married and have kids). 64km in total. On my bum.
But the bit I enjoyed the most was riding from Leeming, back home to Como – at around midnight.
The air was cool, there was a faint breeze and, perhaps because I was into my final hour of a 3 hour total, I was brimming with endorphins and unusually happy. Tangerine Dream’s “Approaching Greenland at 7pm” from their latest album “Chandra”, blasted through my iPod Nano. At around 140bpm, I’m pretty sure my speed was up a few clicks. I switched my blinking 1.5W Basta to steady beam and as I apporached the Mount Henry Bridge (pictured), my ride really took on a new, surrealistic flavour. It was just me and the path. No time. No space. No destination. And then …
Riding North alongside the Kwinana Freeway, you have to keep your wits about you. With almost no car headlights lighting the way, my Northward ride was dotted with overhanging trees, the odd rabbit, sparkling glimpses of the Swan River through he branches to my left and soft sulphur light spilling in from the freeway.
At this point the rush subsided and I found myself “riding my bike”. Thinking about work, bills and deadlines.
But just like regular meditation, every now and then, you get a high. And in that split moment, your bike becomes a magic carpet. The next day I felt really invigorated. Like my lungs had expanded and I was able to breathe easier. Things were less of an effort. I ate a salad (very weird for me) and went hunting through my boxes for Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s novelette, Southern Mail and Night Flight, where he documents a series of similar experiences flying a plane.
Unfortunately, Antoine went missing whilst collecting intelligence about German troop movements during the war. That’s not likely to happen to us – as long as we stick to the bike paths.