As I stand up, a duet begins from the front and rear wheels as the bike leans from one side to another…
The edges of the tyres feel the road as I feel the weight of the panniers pulling behind me, the steel frame flexing in harmony with them; bouncing back and forth, to and fro; like riding a sine wave uphill.
My legs match every third breath. A waltz. A dance. The sweat runs down my arms to my hands and loosens my grip on the bars.
The speedo reads 8. Though it feels like less. Every push of the pedals knows it will be over soon.
And there it is. Finally I reach the top. A hot hand reaches for hot water as we begin to descend without effort. I stop pedalling.
The wind begins to roar. My hair flies back and away from my face. I move my sunglasses from their now redundant position as hair-band, to their more useful eye-protection role. For the flies. And occasional bee.
I get low. I tuck my head in. I rest my arms on the handlebars to make a v-shape, and clasp them together, one over the other, preparing for speed. The air now channels over my head and dries the skin on my back in seconds. It’s cold. The weight of the bike and bags below insures solid, unbroken acceleration over any bump or crack on the road. It fears not the surface. And I fear not the corners. My orange mascot, who has followed me from the Netherlands, flutters about in the wind. A smile appears on my face as the same chord sequence from my ukulele repeats in my head. Hawaii. And N-one-twenty. N-one-twenty. The road I’ve been taking far too long.
We reach the bottom. We repeat.
And we repeat.