Monday, August 10, 2009

Old lady bike riding

This week I'm holidaying in Tonga and riding bicycles is a great way to get around the small, flat island of Tongatapu. Yesterday my friend and I set out on the very sturdy bikes provided by the lovely Heilala Holiday Lodge.

Subtext in my mind... Can I still ride a bike? Can I ride one easily, without pain? Will I be fit for the 5-day Otago rail trail bike ride next year, planned as a 70th birthday celebration?

All my unspoken, nervous questions were answered: yes, yes and sure thing.

It helped, no doubt, that the bike's saddle was exceptionally wide and comfy.

As for fitness, I decided to use the Feldenkrais principles. To exert as little effort as possible. To experiment with unusual positions. (!) To let gravity and natural momentum carry me along.

And so it came to pass. The bicycle (that one, anyway) is a marvellous piece of engineering. The slightest effort keeps you rolling along. And hey, it was exhilarating! Wind in the hair, bouncing through potholes, skimming country roads through unknown territory. Even getting somewhat lost was fun.

We did have a destination and we got there: Keliti Beach, with pancake rocks, pounding waves, and mini-blowholes. But that's the least of it.

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