Last Sunday I woke up with a bad belly, so I stayed in bed until lunchtime. After that the family went on a bike ride with a group of friends from church. I drove one of the support vehicles. An iced coffee later with some congratulations all round on a fun ride and we were headed home and then to the evening service at church.
Finally we went to sleep, all except me, that is. My sleep-in and too much caffeine had meant that I could not get to sleep. So, seeing the clock tick over to 3:45am, I thought I might as well get up and do something. The something I decided to do was to go on a bicycle ride.
I quietly slipped into my bike gear and gathered my food and water bottles, then headed out to the shed to acquaint myself once more with my faithful steed. I’ve bought an entry level road bike which I’m having a lot of fun on, so I decided to go for a road ride, since the feel of it was just so nice.
I headed out my front gate just after 4am. Rolling through town I passed maybe two cars, then for the next 46km I saw no traffic whatsoever. I live in a small town in rural NSW, Australia, so you only have to cycle a few kilometres and you’re out in the countryside, which in my part of the world means sheep and cattle grazing in the paddocks.
The night was warm enough – a little over 8°C (46°F) – and once I’d left the lights of town I was surrounded by pitch black darkness, with only my headlight providing a broad path for my bike to follow. I rode slowly, cautious at first and a little trepidatious of things jumping out at me from the dark. On the roads around here you could disturb a kangaroo, a wallaby, a wombat or a stray sheep to name a few, and you don’t want to be bumping into them on a dark night with only lycra separating you and the pavement.
Shadows on the road beside me, of my fingers moving on my handlebars, set my heart racing more than once, thinking it was something moving just out of my vision.
The silence of the night was punctuated with the rhythm of frogs burping in swampy hollows and creek beds and on half a dozen occasions my nostrils were attacked with the pungent smell of rotting kangaroo flesh as I rolled by another unseen road kill corpse.
The rising sun started to become noticeable about 4:30am, and my efforts were rewarded with a view of a brilliant amethyst pre-dawn glow on the horizon an hour and a half later before I rode into the tree line, obscuring my view of the sunrise proper.
Birds started to sing intermittently after abut an hour of riding and a half hour later they were in full song all around me.
With the rising sun, the temperature dropped and I was glad of the warmth of my shower when I eventually arrived home again, tired, but strangely enthralled – a feeling that lasted for the rest of the day.
Sometimes you just gotta have a little adventure.
Sheep: about 9 mobs
Cattle: about 5 mobs
Kangaroos: about 17
Horses: about 30
Superb Parrots: about 10
Domestic Ducks: 4
Black Duck (Wild) : 3