Every ride has a story. In the coming weeks, there will be a series of videos uploaded to RIDE Media’s YouTube channel documenting days on the bike.
– Click the link below to watch the latest from the #RideAndRant series. –
This year marks my 30th anniversary as a cycling media professional. So yes, I’ve been telling stories about bike riding for quite a long time. Plenty of memories have been collected while reporting on something I love and many words written, and yet I always feel like there’s more to say.
I came to cycling via the riding. It’s a pretty simple – and obvious – summary of how it all started. I enjoyed riding my bike, and so I looked for a job that allowed me to do something that I was passionate about.
Thirty years ago, ‘The Classic 10 Years’ was published; it was a 100-page magazine celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic that I edited as a 21-year-old. That’s how it all began… and it has been quite a ride ever since. In 2021, I’m still writing and talking about cycling and the thrill remains.
As we approach the 100th day of lockdown in Sydney (currently 95), I’m using my time to collate and edit vision collected during rides done between lockdowns, when we were able to ride where and how we liked. Much of it is rather personal, some of it showcases beautiful locations, and all of it reminds me of what I’ve come to know: the bike can take you to amazing places and raise your spirits while giving you a good dose of exercise.
Racing continues to captivate me and the scenes from the worlds in Flanders have given me fresh inspiration to keep doing the job I love, reporting on pro cycling and all things associated with this weird and wonderful world that I’ve been part of for over half my life. But not being able to see the action live means that, during COVID times, I’ve been experiencing cycling in a different way.
It’s still fascinating, even if it’s largely limited to the roads of Sydney while we wait for the world to open up. When the opportunity to travel again arrives, I can’t wait to explore some more: to go back to the races, to find places to ride, and to continue living the cycling life.
For now, I’m enjoying looking back on some adventures around my hometown during a strange and confusing time.
I’m 51 now and my policy for riding is: pacing, not racing. The competitive urge still strikes, but I’d rather enjoy the pedalling experience than push myself too hard these days. That doesn’t mean I’m apathetic and lazy, far from it. I’ve ridden more lately than I have in years, and the love remains.
Even when my cycling is done inside, as it has been for the past few months, I still get something out of it. With a dual-screen arrangement in front of my home trainer set-up, I’m riding (virtually) in places that are magnificent (via FulGaz) and becoming inspired to visit places that haven’t been part of my usual travel itineraries. The vision lures me in and I’m looking forward to that time when I can take my bike to South Africa, or Utah, Mallorca, Scotland, Uluru… or any one of the many places I’ve seen on the screen.
Of course, there are other things to look at while you’re pedalling and going nowhere. The data collected over the months on the home trainer tells me something: ‘Rob, it says (without a voice), you’re doing well. Your fitness is improving. Your wattage is increasing. Your weight is stable…’ and I respond with a grin.
I’m not training for anything. I’m just riding. It’s a habit. And it’s something I love.
While I do this, I’m also watching the racing (on the second screen) and keeping in touch with the cycling world as much as possible. There are still interviews to come – and plenty already uploaded to the RIDE Media YouTube channel – and product reviews remain a focus (even if new product to review, during the pandemic, is scarce).
It’s work, but it’s also what I love doing.
If you want to see what cycling means to me, then you can click play on any number of videos and watch me as I ride and talk and carry on as the senses are ignited by the activity and scenes that the bike allows me to do and see.
The ‘Ride and Rant’ video series might not be for everyone, but I’m publishing it because I’ve grown used to telling stories about cycling… and it’s a bit of therapy for me as I wait for Sydney to open up again and for the change to ride where I want: outside, in the elements, with the world at my wheels.
The cycling life is a good one, and I hope you enjoy some of the things you see on my rides.
As it says at the end of each clip: ‘Follow. Ride. Thanks for watching.’
Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and watch a few of the videos. There are some stories hidden in there. It might not be the kind of riding I’m usually reporting on, but I hope you get something out of it.
– By Rob Arnold