A Travellerspoint blog


To Lycra or Not to Lycra

That is the question

One of our first world problems always revolve around "What should I wear?" It's always a dilemma which can only be resolved when we arrive at our destination and get a chance to compare our outfits with others.

The reality is, this is always too late, invariably what we decide to wear is fine and all our anticipation and nervousness is completely wasted. But it doesn't stop the doubt or concern. So I sit here racked with that very same doubt and concern. What do I wear on my epic ride along the Bamboo Road?

Last year as I stopped for a break in Mornington with a couple of other riders, I needed to duck in to use the facilities, as I walked past a table a young boy sat with his mother, bringing a delicious muffin to his mouth. His gaping mouth froze as his eyes bulged, staring at me. He breathlessly said to his mum, not taking his eyes from me, "Mum, look, it's a Power Ranger".

That's right, me the Power Ranger, not a MAMIL, but a mythical super hero capable of defeating evil. Obviously he didn't see me on the ride down. He would clearly know, if he had, that Middle Aged Man in Lycra was a much more apt description. However, the desire of we cyclists to dress in form fitting Lycra, is a source of frustration and ridicule for those who haven't discovered the beauty of the pedal. Part of the reason is that the Lycra leaves nothing to the imagination.

Every lump, bump and ridge is not only visible but enhanced and bolstered when one is compressed in Lycra. All the science shows that Lycra reduces drag and therefore enhances speed and performance. Unfortunately, the science doesn't quantify the visual insult created by peletons ( I hope this is the collective noun for cyclists) of cyclists.

So I ponder my upcoming dilemma. Function and form. 28 days in the saddle. Heat and humidity seems to be the forecast. Tight shirt or loose shirt. One thing will be certain, whatever is tight at the start will be looser at the end. 2500kms should help drop a few kilograms. And then the shorts, Lycra or "modesty" shorts as they are known. I'm leaning toward loose and modest.

As I search for photos from previous trips I'm looking at the road conditions, the type of bicycle and the amount of baggage each participant has. I'm also trying to get an idea of what I should wear. I will keep procrastinating before I finally decide and will probably have a combination of loose and modest and Power Ranger Lycra.

After all, it wouldn't be fair to deprive a small Cambodian boy from the excitement of seeing a real life super hero, would it?

Posted by Stephenhanlon 04:24 Archived in Australia Tagged road bamboo Comments (0)

I can't believe I'm doing this

It's been the coldest winter in Melbourne in over 25 years. That, combined with the fact I've been to China twice in the past 4 weeks and managed to pick up "the Lurgi", I'm moving like a piece of road kill. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the date on my birth certificate.

As I crawled out of bed this morning, Friday August 14th after pushing the snooze button twice, I waited for my eyes to focus in the mirror so I could commence my morning shave.

"What am I doing?", I asked my sleepy self incredulously.

Last night I paid for my Tour d'Afrique ride from Hong Kong to Phnom Penh via Hanoi. 28 days of riding my bike over 2500kms. Back to back days of over 100kms per day. Why am I doing this? Can I do this?

In 2008 I walked Kokoda and to this day it Was the most physically, mentally and emotionally demanding thing I have done. I know this will be different. I can foresee the physical demands but I know the mental challenge will be greater.

One thing I failed to do on Kokoda was to enjoy the moment. I focused too much on enduring it. I worried about surviving. I will ensure this time I relish the journey. Getting to Phnom Penh is not the goal. Taking something out of each day. Gaining an insight, seeing something which makes me smile or just appreciating a moment. Each day, every day.

So this is the story of what I find, each day. If you enjoy it, great, but I'm not writing it for you. I'm writing it for me. I want to make sure I achieve my daily objective. My ambition will be to update it daily, a discipline I know I am poor at. Another "challenge" for my trip. If I don't have access then no problem, I at least have a pen and paper and can add when I do.

So it's time to get on the bike and ensure I'm ready when I land in honkers.

Posted by Stephenhanlon 05:07 Archived in Australia Tagged bike Comments (0)

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