Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sydney Pre-Event - Day 1

Date: Friday March 27th, 2015
Distance: 27 mile
Song of the Day:  Ripe - Ben Lee

It took thirty nine hours of travel, 27 of that in the air, and stops in three different airports to get to Sydney, but I arrived at half past ten in the morning on Friday.

Upon arriving I put my bike together even before leaving customs inspection. The inspector was briefly confused on how the bike arrived in that state. I assured him that I had just put all the pieces back together and he let me go without any further questions.

I went out to the road and took off. I think this is the six time I have biked away from the airport. To hell with renting a car, or taking a taxi. Riding a bike from the airport is way better. It is the only way to fly.

I headed into the downtown area. It had been almost a decade since the last time I was in Sydney. It is strange what things come back to you. Certain places dredged up memories from the mental sediment. I was uncovering things long forgotten like a neural archeologist. I had seen Sydney in a totally different way. I was there for different reasons and I had different perspective on life. It is strange to think of that person as me. Memories are a bit like a ghost of your past self. Weird.

Anyway, my real issue was I didn't know where exactly I was going. I was not too concerned. This is my vacation. I was not going to get worried about the little details. I went to Hyde Park where people were supposed to be gathering. I didn't see a big group of bikes though.

It was just after noon, so the meetup might be later. I took a ride down to the harbor. Looked at the opera house, and the harbor bridge. I will say, Sydney is a beautiful city. Some of the best views are from the botanical garden. At that point I was getting hungry, so I went to find lunch.

While eating my lunch I saw a bike messenger. I asked him if he knew about the event. He didn't know the details, but sent me to the bottom of Martin Place. I guess that is a hangout for the local Sydney bike messengers. It wasn't much. Just a few stone steps on the side of the plaza. It wasn't by a bike shop or dispatch office. It was centrally located though. I was still confused why that spot exactly though. The best reason the messengers there gave me was that the best looking women in town went by all day long.

From there I got directions to where people were going to be at Hyde park. One of the guys, Tony, offered to ride up there with me. There were only two other riders there when I arrived. As the afternoon wore on more and more cyclists showed up. Eventually there were forty or more people there.

I got a location on where the registration was. Just before sunset we headed over there. I got my housing set. One of the Sydney messengers, Smokin' Joe, had an apartment nearby that was vacant at the moment. I was going to be staying there with a bunch of German messengers. Cool.

I was able to drop my gear and get back in time for the start of the alley cat. There were about a dozen checkpoints across the core of the city. One was on the other side of the harbor bridge. What a wonderful way to get out and learn the city. Just fantastic. Well, mostly. I got lost after the third checkpoint trying to take a shortcut. (I should know by now that taking the shortcut in a race never works out the way I want it to.) I got into the last checkpoint just as the guy was leaving. That puts me right about dead last. Still, I had a total blast. I love tearing across a city on a bike. The race was a good excuse to explore and see the sights.

To cap the night off the group headed over to the “Lobster Shack” in the west suburbs of Sydney. It was just the house for a couple of the messengers in the area. Well, more like hippie commune than house. It was lots of fun though.

I wish I could express in words how awesome the whole day was. Meeting new people. Exploring new places. These are things I am not going to ever forget. This is what really living is all about.


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