It was a classic cold Melbourne morning. Bright sunshine after overnight rain, and fog in the air from our breathing. We had arranged with friends Heather and Dale to go on a bike ride from Mt Evelyn to Warburton (a distance of 33km) and we met around 10am to get going. It was a big day. The bike path runs along an old rail line which has been converted for walking and cycling.
It sounded like a great idea at the time. You know the sort of thing, like sticking you and your cousin's fingers to each other with super glue or painting your grandmother's car in the same pastel blue of the house or smothering oneself in black body paint for a fancy dress party. It all SOUNDS good to begin with, but then sometime along the way, reality bites. One large gallon of eucalyptus oil, a bottle of nail polish remover, and a mob of angry relatives later, and you realise your decision making process needs some fine tuning.
So it was on Sunday. It sounded like a great idea at the time. A comfortable cycle in the country, a pub lunch at the destination and a leisurely return trip with glowing faces and tired muscles. What we failed to consider was that we were riding a range of bikes and 2 of us at least had barely been on a bike since having to cycle to school! Add to that the one way distance had failed to be doubled, when we finally realised half-way there, it wasn't looking so appealing.
What was I thinking? Surely bike seats are not meant to feel like instruments of torture after 2 hours of cycling! I am still feeling the resulting bruises as I sit at my desk.
As it turned out, our determination paid off and we made it to Warburton just after 2. Unfortunately we missed the pub lunch by 15 minutes! Doh! Thankfully the local fish and chip shop fed us well with battered fish, chips and burgers and lots of fizz to replenish the depleted energy levels. As we ate the negotiations and bribery began. Without going into too much detail we concluded that the return cycle was not looking good. We offered to catch a bus back and get the cars, I offered a cab fare but the men were adamant. The fellas headed back on the 33km return trip and Heather and I cycled back 13kms where we took our rest and liquid replenishment at the local pub and waited for our rescue.
Later, as the light faded into the sides of the nearby hills, we got the message they had made it back to the cars and were on the way. It was one of the hardest things Dale said he had ever done. The last 5 kms were all uphill.
As I said, I love long week-ends and was especially grateful for the extra day off on Monday (Happy Birthday to the Queen!). In hindsight, it was a little ambitious. In hindsight, it was also a good day, despite the sore backsides! Certainly it was memorable. Next time however, when I get a bright idea, I'll recall the faces of my family when they discovered I had cut my 2 year old cousins hair the day before a beautiful baby competition, and I will think more carefully before making any suggestions!