Take a few hours, mix with good weather, empty roads, a lovely bike and you ride away with what effectively becomes a holiday. It may be only quick, but it offers some exercise and raises your spirits.

– Watch the video: a two-hour holiday on a Tuesday morning in Sydney –


Many daily routines are in disarray in 2020. The walk to school with my youngest had been a way to get the day underway for years but even that has stopped temporarily. The lockdown affects us all in different ways but, looking for a positive, it also allows a tweak to The Usual that can serve us well.

Here’s an example… Tuesday 19 May, had plenty of work to do so got up hours before the sun and sat at the computer getting stuff done. Is it just me or does time pass more slowly in the pre-dawn? I’m sure it doesn’t but it feels that way because the body is fresh, the coffee begins to kick in, and thoughts come more easily.

Yesterday morning’s work wasn’t fun. Of course, a job isn’t always enjoyable but when you’re in the cycling game, it’s easy to feel spoiled at times. Reporting on bike riding is often a joy but sometimes it also involves themes that can be unpleasant. That happened on Tuesday morning.

When the roads are largely void of traffic like they are in Sydney at the moment, and there is a considerable uptake of cycling, there are lots of good things for me to write about.Encouraging people to ride bikes when conditions are as they are in my town right now is not only easy, it’s enjoyable. Pleasure comes from even a brief adventure and many are riding again because, quite simply, cycling makes sense. And they are realising how simple and rewarding it is.

I’d enjoyed a couple of days riding over the weekend and my spirits were high.

A note from Ross Edgar published sometime on Sunday did, however, remind me that not everyone in cycling is having a great time at the moment. My Tuesday morning report on Edgar’s Open Letter included the line: “There’s a lot of good that can come from riding a bike.” And yet, the story about the Australian Cycling Team was anything but good.

Still, it is necessary to cover all aspects of this cycling caper: good, bad and ugly.

For me, reporting on the politics of sport is an ugly part of my job. I do it, but don’t like it because it usually comes with plenty of hostility that piles up and pushes the mood down.

So, yesterday, instead of sitting around reading and listening to more tales of discontent because of poor administration (something that often follows stories about politics), I took to the bike for a few hours.

I didn’t know where I was going but the light was glorious as the fog lifted from Sydney and I aimed north on a ride to clear my mind. And so, for a second time in four days, I pulled the camera out of my jersey pocket and recorded some of my journey.

The clip that came from this short adventure makes me happy. It showcases a city coming out of lockdown, illustrates the ease of cycling when there’s not as much traffic as usual, and it reminds me that it only takes a couple of hours to destress and realise that life is okay. A bike ride can do that.

We don’t always have the luxury of a couple of hours to spare on a work day, but after an early start and with the option of a late finish it was possible to earn a little holiday of sorts, something to clear the mind and raise the mood.


– By Rob Arnold


– Also: Story of my ride – with Rupert Guinness, 16 May 2020