I set out this afternoon on a solo bike ride to explore a new cycling trail I’d hope to take the kids on safely in the future. I knew the path was there but wasn’t sure about all the connections and how to make it an easy loop. After studying Google Maps I felt confident I would find my way. I definitely got more than I bargained for.
I am all for adventure and getting lost as it inevitably leads to something interesting. Today was that sort of outing. As soon as I left the groomed bike path and entered a nature reserve the road transitioned to gravel and sand. I checked the park map upon entering but it didn’t give a clear indication on exiting and rejoining the river path – my destination.
My bike is not a mountain bike and riding up and down steep gravel roads is not a pleasant experience. I got more of a leg and core workout today that I was expecting. I finally made it to the top of the hill and was rewarded with sweeping views of the city, the Maribyrnong River and the back end of our neighbourhood. It was lovely albeit a bit humid. That’s when I met Grace and Elizabeth. A mum and daughter, ex-pats like me, out for an afternoon cycle.
We had a really nice conversation about travel, COVID, parenting, cycling and where we were from. I realise in this moment how much I miss talking to people. (I read today that Melbourne has been in lockdown for around 115 days!) The ladies share with me that their family left China for Australia 6 years ago. Not to stereotype, but I love conversations with my Chinese friends. There is no beating around the bush. If they have a question, they ask it. It’s all very straightforward and so unlike American, British and Australian friends who tend to worry about politeness, approaching questions more delicately.
The ladies kindly offered to take me through the reserve and back to the river path. I’m so glad I found them because I don’t know if I would have continued on. They were so kind to help me out and chat me up – today reminded me of travelling and the thoughtfulness of strangers. I feel like the more I travel the less I prepare for it ahead of time. Things just always have a way of working out – as did my cycle ride in the end.