“Shit bru, it’s too feckin’ cold. Ya need balls like coconuts to be paddlin’ out there.”
I wish someone had told me sooner. All this time I’ve been pedaling “out there” – around glaciers and over windswept mountains – without long pants, let alone manhood plucked from a palm tree. Had I not been so blissfully ignorant, I might have gotten hurt.
You see, I come from the Canadian prairies, where kids get early inoculations against measles, mumps and trepidation. I grew up watching people use their knees to steer vehicles around icy corners, one hand scraping snow from the windshield, the other punching an April Wine cassette into the tape deck. It wasn’t harrowing – it was our school bus.
Small wonder that all these years later I consider anything short of the apocalypse to be perfectly acceptable traveling weather. Give me warm feet and the prospect of a cold beer and I’ll happily push my bike just about anywhere.
I’m alone in this idea, of course, but really I don’t mind. New Zealand is stunning in every way, and sometimes I think the miles between fireplaces and soft faces are the best company of all.