today has been one of those delicious baby bear's porridge days
[not too hot, not too cold but just right]
ie a Very Good day to be alive
as opposed to the other option
blue skies above and that perfect gentle breeze that makes me contemplate adding jingles to my cowboy boots so i can tap-dance down the sidewalk like Gene Kelly.
fortunately New Orleans is spared this sight because i am riding a bicycle.
and not just any bicycle.
named for my maternal grandmother
and resplendent in the colour she loved best [purple -
a word which does not rhyme with any other]
Berta has big fat tyres to deal with bumpy roads
[Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac played a role here],
a comfy sprung seat and an elegant basket.
all that is missing is Toto.
she is a country kind of bicycle.
a hundred years ago when i was an eager young architecture student with more energy than sense i rode to the University of Adelaide [and back] on my bicycle. i should mention that home was on Mount Lofty, elevation 727 metres which doesn't sound much until you convert it to feet and it becomes 2385.17.
we lived about 50 of those [vertically] from the summit.
the trip to town took about 40 minutes and the feel of the wind blowing in my hair was divine [this was in the time before our nanny-state government fined anyone not wearing an ice-cream bucket on their head whilst on two wheels. now it will cost you $59]
going back up was another matter entirely and took about 2 and a half hours with the exception of the night i was dashing home to go out to a dance when i set my record of one hour and twenty mintues [NOT on a racing bike i might add]. unfortunately it was a bit of a wasted effort. my date, though cute, was not very keen on dancing so it was a night spent standing about. sigh.
back to bicycling.
i loved it then but in recent years my view of cyclists has been somewhat soured. South Australian cyclists seem to have an unspoken code that requires them to dress like luminous insects in neon coloured skintight lycra. the effect of which as it becomes transparent due to perspiration is frankly mindboggling, especially when the cyclist in front of you rises from his seat in order to attempt a particularly steep hill.
also they insist on riding three abreast on winding roads where passing is impossible due to blind corners and double lines
and adding insult to injury they refuse to use the $1,000,000 [not joking] bicycle track built through the Adelaide Hills [more properly called the Mount Lofty Ranges], preferring to clog the roads instead
[a lovely golden retriever and a nice lady with a pram are making good use of it though]
so with all this in mind i am being especially careful here in New Orleans.
people drive big, unforgiving trucks [yes, i'd like one myself]
- American drivers can make a right hand turn [the equivalent would be left in Oz] on a red light and Louisiana drivers rarely use their indicators. my friend Nikki says that indicators are considered optional extras that most drivers don't recall ordering with their cars]
and did i mention that unlike Oz where you have three seconds grace after the light turns red...here there is an immediate switch and the other lot GOES. fast.
nonetheless it is great fun.
and now to the book [that was in the puddle the other day].
it spent time in the dyebath and then decided it liked the colour so much it wanted to become part of the tree that the leaves [for the dye] came from. Quercus ilex, in case you are wondering.
if you can find the book you can keep it.
clue : Homer Plessy was arrested close by