Today I was biking along in front of the grocery store (and lots of people) when a hornet on my knee made its presence felt. My brain, busy with other considerations, dealt with the situation as best it could: left hand pulled hard on front brake, body lifted off seat ensuring more forward momentum, right hand released handle bar to complete loss of balance and also swat stinger as hornet long gone. Wits returned in time to jam knee into frame preventing over-the-handle-bar journey and to achieve unglamorous stop, complete with a wasp sting, a bruised leg and a surprised, nay shocked, ego. From this I learned: it is not a good idea to send in the first article written after Slow Food Cycle Sunday until a few days have passed, and even then, it should be very heavily edited.
If I may be so understated and completely fail to convey the turmoil of this past week: there was much success this year and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, although, naturally enough, it has been difficult to put into perspective the more challenging comments, and of course the truck roll-over accident has had the expected effect. I write it as such merely to make it a matter of record.
I have edited and re-written fairly completely now and feel this is a much more socially acceptable recounting of the inevitable post-event machinations that have been the story of my life since the weekend. You are to be spared many of the details but suffice it to say on Monday, I felt Slow Food Cycle should be cancelled forever, and five days later, I find myself musing on T-shirt colours for next year. A few considerations remain to work out for next time.
I have to be honest: I did not set out on this Slow Food Cycle Sunday journey to create an opportunity for people on bikes to flaunt all the rules of the road. I do understand that biking engenders a feeling of freedom which is terribly appealing, but we must be careful not to flaunt it. Why on earth are people not moving to the side to let cars pass, never mind other bikers?
A word about safety: in almost a decade and almost 20,000 bike riders, there havenít been too many first-aid calls, and the worst has been a broken arm. This year there were multiple scrapes and bruises reported (kid over handle bars, rider wallowing in gravel shoulder) and an unconfirmed rumour circulates about a sprained ankle. I did not require Search and Rescue response for the hornet sting although it was related completely to my participation in the bike ride.
From what I can gather, the care-free bike management of fellow participants has developed into situation critical and is the biggest problem we are going to be asked to solve. Look for police road checks, pilot cars, an enforced worker/farmer traffic only policy, police cruisers around every corner Ö anything is on the table.
Another possibly valid complaint is that the vision has been lost in the boom of a hugely successful tourism event. I canít really agree with that. Read the fine print: if you are on this ride, you are counted as one who supports farmers and the preservation of farmland, and you are possibly going to be inspired to think about a back-up plan for your food system.
Itís also time to build the team again: thatíll be the fun part.
Anna Helmer is shedding a few tears of pride right now for Pembertonís Nancy Johnstonís performance in Ironman.