Back when I was a kid riding my bike around the block was just about the single most exciting thing I knew of. I would get out there and just ride and ride, going faster and faster all the time. I loved the thrill of the speed, the feeling of the wind on my face, and the exhilaration that comes from racing a friend, the clock, or just my imagination. Riding my bike was a passion, and it wasn’t one that I lost a love for… Until I discovered cars and girls.

I’ll be honest with you, cars and girls ended up being something of a distraction for quite some time, but I promised myself that would all change here in Australia. With the spoils of better weather and motivation to stay in shape I decided to buy a bike and take to the roads with the enthusiasm of my younger self, if not the boundless energy.

I did have a bike back in England, a heavy mountain bike with nobbly tires and a trip computer; evidence of my good intentions at the time of purchase. I didn’t live in the mountains though, nor did I ride it through anything more challenging than the occasional puddle on the street.

I’d bought the bike with the intention of riding to the shops and the beach to watch the occasional sunset now and then, but those rides never quite happened. The trip computer clocked up a grand total of 57 miles, a number that would flash on its little screen every time I moved the bike to hang my washing in the sun room. Each time it would blink a little more faintly, seemingly giving up on me as the battery faded in tandem with my motivation.

I could blame all kinds of factors like the weight of the bike, the gears that needed tuning, or even the unpredictable nature of the British weather that would lead me to elect to take my car rather than run the risk of getting drenched in yet another unforeseen rain storm. Truthfully though, I was just too damn lazy to choose pedalpower over horsepower.

I remember my first bike very well with it’s training wheels and colored tassels at the end of the handle bars. It was blue with a white seat and white tires, very cool long before cool was ever something I cared about or even knew had a word. It was a simple bike, the classic shape. It wasn’t a racer, but that didn’t matter because I was!

Here in Australia cyclists have to wear crash helmets. However, such safety precautions were of no concern back when I was learning to ride my bike without the training wheels. I can still recall the images of my Dad running along with me on the path by the retirement apartments just around the corner from where we lived. We would start by the little park where the swings were and he would run along holding the back of the seat while encouraging me as I pedald.

I remember that was fun, but then he would let go and his voice would quickly be behind me so I would turn around to see where he was then lose my balance and fall off the bike, scraping my hands and arms along the rough surface of the pavement. Many a time I would be in tears saying I didn’t want to ride anymore as he picked me up and told me we would have another go. What’s wrong with my Dad? I would think to myself. How come he had the easy job and I was the one getting all beat up? That didn’t seem right to me.

Of course, in the end I got it. The training wheels came off and the small accidents that happened at slow speeds while I learned how to ride unaided turned into much faster more spectacular accidents as I pushed the limits of my abilities and the boundaries of my belief. Trips to the emergency room were a common occurrence, almost a weekend ritual for a while according to my Mom. I didn’t mind though, as I saw it, if we weren’t supposed to go fast we wouldn’t have invented the wheel in the first place.

A Flight frame. Australian made Bicycle.

So I’ve bought myself a new bike. It’s a locally made ‘Flight’ single speed hybrid in black. I don’t really know much about bikes, but it’s pretty much the bike I envisioned riding here back when living in Melbourne was just a day dream.

When I first got it I couldn’t wait to get on it and go for a ride. I had a smile as bright as a six year olds as I took to the road for the first time. That smile was born of a combination of things. The bike, the summer weather, and the location.

I felt the same as I did when I was got my first racer; a shiny red ten speed kalkhoff with big dynamo lights and a built in wheel lock. Riding this new bike was every bit as great as back then. I was so excited, so utterly bubbling with joy that I let out a whoop. Yeah, I know that’s not entirely cool, it’s certainly not fitting of the hipster mentality within which these bikes are so trendy. But I’m no hipster, nor am I a member of the lycra clad brigade. I’m just a guy on a bike, getting there under my own steam, wherever that might be.

A Flight frame. Australian made Bicycle.

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