Sunday, November 18, 2007

A new chapter in cycling

Cairns has two seasons: the dry and the wet. So far, I've been enjoying the dry. This week, I've started to get a taste of the wet, which usually lasts from January through March. It's hot and humid. It rains sometimes in downpours, sometimes in sprinkles, but always when I'm outside. Then there's a little sunshine, and the sidewalks steam dry, and you have just enough time to fish out your sunglasses from your purse before it starts raining again.

This sort of weather pattern has created some new obstacles for biking:

A plague of frogs
Given the options for cycling in Cairns involve either the North Highway or the South Highway, roadkill is a common occurrence. Most of the time, it's just wallabies, identifiable by their fur and red meat. They have since been replaced by a plague of frogs that emerge during the storms and hurl themselves onto the highway. These are not little frogs either. These are the frogs you dissected in high school biology. In fact I think I could make money collecting them and selling them to high schools (10 bonus points to the student who can name which organ is still lying on the side of the road).

Was that a giant lizard or a tiny croc?
Really, who can tell when you're trying to avoid large chunks of it on the shoulder of the road? Seriously, based on the remnants, I believe this thing must have been between 3 and 4 feet long. One of the other riders swore it was a goana (aka, tiny dinosaur), but I'm not 100% convinced.

Mangoes: tasty treat or obstacle course?
Mangoes are in season here, and they are delicious. Unfortunately, the storms knock them out of the trees and onto the roads. They can be a bit hard to avoid, especially when riding in a pack. But they will either shoot out from under your tires or just squish. Occasionally though, you'll hit a pit. They can easily throw your balance.

Cycling shoes should come with drainage holes
I'm seriously considering drilling holes in the toes of my cycling shoes. Since the soles are a solid piece of plastic, they just pool with water when it rains. I could just feel my toes shriveling.

80K ride + buckets of rain = chafe
I'll just leave it at that.

Hurray, only 4 more months of rain!


Dave November 20, 2007 at 10:28 PM  

To combat chafe, look for Bodyglide. It's the best stuff ever invented. If you have GU in Cairns, surely somebody carries Bodyglide. Otherwise it's small (deoderant-sized) and easily mailed from the States. It's magic.

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