If you ride only when you want to, you always choose the nicest route that is convenient. However, when you follow some kind of schedule, where the importance is what you do, rather than where you can go, you eventually start pulling routes out of nowhere, deciding where to turn as you go.
The last few weeks during my easy rides with Brendan, and Gene and Jeremy when they can make it, we've gone through some Epping back roads, some bike paths around Altona, some twisting back roads of Hampton, train lines and industrial complexes over Footscray way, as well as various other little roads too and fro. Everyone contributes a little something here and there, according to where they know the lay of the land the most. All this in the past two weeks!
I have lived in Melbourne almost all of my life, and I still to this day enjoy the roads of my youth, only vague projections in my head, become tangible again, realising I am riding down a road my dad and I used to drive down on the way to North Carlton to get fish for dinner. Or having no idea where you are, only to emerge out from a labyrinth of back streets to find yourself somewhere you know, and now confident that you can get home. And slowly, as you get older, you realise you have an anecdote, or a friend's anecdote, or a memory, or a song to relate your own situation back to more and more landmarks. In others words, you become more intrinsically involved with the city you live in. Parts of you begin to spread around its confines, representing parts of your life that have past, are ongoing, or perhaps are even yet to come.
These are small victories, to be sure, but I like to think as I become more aware of how the different roads snake through Melbourne, and how they relate to each other, I become more aware of my own position in this city. As i become more confident with how the city works, I become more attached to this place.
It's kind of a rad feeling.