The weather was absolutely lovely when we were woken up at 0800 by the builders next door hammering on the roof. Again. After some deeply committed efforts to ignore the noise, we gave in and got up.
Since the climate here is so deeply unreliable, we skipped going to the market, and went for a ride instead. After scrambled eggs on muffins, naturally.
We headed west to Port Melbourne along the cycle path. We can get from our flat to the path that goes all round Port Philip Bay without riding on a single road. Spiffy. The usual gale (OK, force 5) was blowing off the bay, so we took it quite gently. We got about half way to St. Kilda before stopping to take some photos (go on - it'll be on the test).
I tried seeing how easy it is to lift the front end of my bike up. Very easy. It will cheerfully come up and biff me in the (ample) hooter. Cool. Next, I tried to see what happens when I apply a bit of upward pressure on the pedals while the nose is up. After a couple of goes, I managed to get the sequence right. Airborne. Spiffalicious. I've never managed that before. I kept repeating my new party trick until The Risk Assessor told me to stop being silly. OK, I might have done a *few* more. Not very many, though. We came back by the same route, and The Sensible One decided to call it a day. Her bike is fantastic, and she's really enjoying it. I, of course, decided that some more punishment was called for.
I took the Yarra Valley path in the other direction, and cycled past the city and out to the east. I followed the same route that we had previously taken on hire bikes. I got almost to Dight's falls, and turned off for Studley Park. A bloke at the bike shop had said that there were some trails in this area, so I went for a rootle. This started with a reasonably respectable climb - about 50m in 500m I would guess. Enough to get the blood pumping a bit. Once at the top, I couldn't find anything interesting, so I had a bit of a downhill sprint. This bike has huge quantities of zoom juice, and it feels very stable around 50kph (guessing - no computer fitted yet).
One of the things that Melbourne is lacking is decent hills. You have to go about 50kms to the Dandenong Ranges before there's anything really worth climbing. Other People fail to see this as a drawback.
Eventually, I found something unpaved that looked a bit interesting. I followed along the river as the path climbed a bit, and got narrower. And narrower. And steeper. And Oh My Gosh is that a tight turn where a misplaced tyre would lead to plummeting death? Yes it is. What fun. Eventually, the path got so steep it had steps in it. I gave up and carried the bike up. At the top there was a big sign saying 'No Bicycles'. Hey, ho. Must have missed the one at the other end.
I hammered along past Dight's Falls, and had a look round Yarra Bend Park. There was a little bit of fairly technical single track there, but not as much as I had hoped. The bits I did increased my respect for the awesome capabilities of this bike even further. I was hacking along very twisty stuff far faster that I would have done on my old hardtail, and the bike was handling it with confidence. I have a nasty suspicion that crashes on this machine are going to happen at higher speeds than I am used to.
After some more pottering about, I headed for home. A minute or two later, I spotted a lovely kerb. Aha, I think, I bet my new-found skills at hauling this machine airborne are a match for that. Lug, we go and the front end pops up sweetly. Yank, we are going to go next. Too late - rear tyre clobbers the corner of the kerb with the full momentum of bike and rider. Crush goes the tyre. Bang, hisssssssss goes the inner tube. Oh, poot, I say.
I'm a good 5kms from home with no repair kit. Whoops.
The next forty minutes is a triumph of modern technology. I carry my lovely, expensive, featherweight machine (so glad I've got a really expensive, really light bike) out of the park to a road, and call the Logistics Director on my mobile. "Help. I'm somewhere near the river in East Melbourne. Where's the nearest Bike Shop?" The response, while not entirely sympathetic - I think I could hear giggles, was fantastic. Once we'd worked out where I was, the combined power of Multimap and Yellow Pages gave me everything I needed. Fortunately, I was only about a kilometer from the nearest one. The Logistics Director vectored me in by mobile.
It turned out to be a bit of an odd place. It specialized in Italian road machines, and was populated by the sort of people who like this sort of kit. Not entirely a place I was comfortable with. They had a (fairly crap) tube of the right size, and were happy to fit it for a grand total of $25. Result.
I came home very carefully, and didn't jump at all. Not even little things.
Off to watch some rugby soon. If we can just arrange some beer, this will have been a truly awesome day.