Of Summer Heat and Bicycles.

Lone Tourer.jpeg
The Lone Tourer

Summer is hot where we live! Too hot for cottage garden plants, and this year too hot for me..

The love-in-the-mist plants have died off and their brittle corpses bestraggle themselves brownly across bits of our garden path and bestrew their brittle branchlets amongst the roses.

In this heat, I know how they felt as they dried to a desiccated death (or would have “felt” if plants feel).

The hot sky is cheerfully and cruelly blue.

It is far too hot to ride a bicycle!
Too hot or not, that hot summer sky’s blueness both blends and clashes with the gaudiness of the lycra clad pedalling racers Touring Down Under through our hills.

from the advertiser
From the ‘Adelaide Advertiser’ January 18th 2019

The ‘Tour Down Under’ cycling event is always raced under the harsh South Australian summer sun.

This past few weeks, little old Nairne, and places like it, have been packed with parked cars and strangers.
It’s a cafe trading bonanza!
Touring gawpers gawp at gardens, grapes, granite, and gables as they bustle to see bunches of blokes on bikes breezing through the Adelaide Hills.
A hot, racy breezing on bikes in the heat.

The two-wheeled carbon neutral physically fit transport concept is great
– but the act of competitive pedalling turns otherwise normal and nice people into obsessed overheated fools who have lost all idea of dress-sense and sensible behaviour.
You know that can’t be good. They risk cardiac crises and dehydration.
Never-the-less they smile through the sweat as they congregate in the alfresco areas of village coffee shops.
Good on ‘em!


I remember another era when a bicycle was a different beast entirely from the one they it has evolved into – a finer beast  – a refined and elegant device.

My bike.
My ‘Bullock’ with its proud ornate “B” badge thrust forward
– all black, graceful, heavy.
No carbon fibre or light alloys on that girl.

She was steel – British steel,
Her big wheels soaked up the inconsistencies of the dirt tracks and gravel roads.
Her momentum carried this pre-lycra, corduroy and denim clad, helmet-less rider effortlessly.
She carried me over the miles, seated luxuriously on her extravagantly sprung seat.

Her horizontal crossbar had ties to hold a collapsed sports fishing rod
Her hessian pannier had room for scrumped apples,
Her wet bag held fish.

She was a bike of bikes – big, bold, black, and beautiful
… but now her kind is gone and replaced by all these lighter,lesser, mean, nasty, skinny, fast, expensive machines.
Machines that swarm the roads like locust plagues in their shiny, gaudily alloyed millions.

Sigh! … But the Bullock – that was a bike!

2 thoughts on “Of Summer Heat and Bicycles.

    1. There is no picture of that bike. I haven’t seen her since around 1970 when she was leaning sadly against the back wall of the shed, cruelly pushed aside by a driving licence. A faithful servant abandoned in favour of the infernal internal combustion engine. I don’t recall her final fate – I think she was given away.


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