Some days you just feel like Darwin.
14.10.2015 30 °C
Imagine that moment when it suddenly dawns on you. You may be the very first person to have made this discovery.
This plant or animal which you have been intently studying, watching for any particular points of similarity and difference between this and already known species. This can't be something new. Your starting position is "surely not".
This is a very fresh experience for a group of Australian and US Researchers who earlier this year announced the discovery a new Species of rat in Sulawesi, Indonesia. This new animal the Hog-nosed rat, Hyorhinomys stuempkei, has a pig style nose, long hind legs and hops around with large canine incisors. Imagine that thing coming after you hungry!
Of course the most famous of all was English Naturalist Charles Darwin, who, not only discovered innumerable new Species, but also built our understanding of evolution, not that the Creationists have had a chance to understand his writing.
Travelling the Bamboo Road through Southern China I too had my own Darwin moment. As I have travelled from YunFu to CenXi via LuDing over the last couple of days I have developed an understanding of the existence of 2 new species, in fact it is one species but seen through different eyes.
Cyclists, if that is the Genus, has number of Species. Some I have known previously, but only in the last couple of days have I realised that there is a new one, Cyclists Touristo. More on them shortly. For completeness the other known species are;
- Cyclists Triathlonsauraus - a focused animal that has no pain threshold. Spend all their time focusing on "aero" advantage. Always look to ride solo as drafting is illegal in their style of racing.
- Cyclists Roadnomys - absolute devotion to weight reduction. Well spend anything to reduce the weight of their equipment but often forget that the heaviest part of the bike is the engine. Shaved legs, expensive Lycra and Strava segments are some of their key features
And now the newly discovered species, for me anyway, Cyclists Touristo. This unique species is made up of hard core cyclists who seek adventure around the world. They have no bike envy issues, as there bike is just the essential tool they use to see the world, they dress in whatever they feel like, are not concerned with the pretensions of cycling and fix flats with patches rather than throwing away inner tubes.
Travelling through China, as I am, now a fully fledged member of this species, there is no doubt that too the locals we are a completely new species as well.
Standing in the foyer of our hotel this morning the security guard came over, bent down and wrapped his hands around my calf, mumbled something, and stood there staring. At lunch in a little village, a crowd stood around, touching our hairy arms as we tried to eat sandwiches, and an afternoon snack at a street stall turned into a congo line of photos such that our food was cold by the time we ate it. In the Street Market we road through yesterday where thousands of locals where buying and selling, it wasn't the sight of the dead Rats being sold that was strange, it was us.
In these parts of China, Westerners are rare, Westerners riding bicycles rarer and Cyclists Touristo the rarest of all.