Gareth has decided that he prefers to remain an enigma, so I'm afraid it's back to verbose ol' me again!
My gut was sore from laughing at his entry; it took him all of twenty seconds to tap out yet he'd managed to distill seven years of public babbling and a lifetime of lard-related angst.
I'd been feeling self-conscious as it is lately, doing press for the book and sometimes being struck mute mid-interview thinking, What a ridiculous thing, to spend so much time going on about the size of ones arse.
But I'll keep on anyway, because I've been meaning to tell you about what was quite possibly The Greatest Day of My Life. Woohoo!
(Warning: I'm really knackered therefore beware of rambling and excess exclamation!)
You may recall my road cycling debut of mid-October – tears and trembling and brown underpants. It was a crash course of sorts, because the following week we were off to New York and I'd booked us on a cycling tour.
At first it seemed like a crafty way of disposing of Gareth for a few hours so I could do some shopping, but then I decided I wanted in, too. Sure I have no peripheral vision and I cannae hand signal but I've done twenty minutes on a Scottish country road… LET THE MUPPET TAKE MANHATTAN!
We assembled at a bike shop near Union Square – me and Gareth, three chicks from Kansas and a Melbourne lad with wholesome soap star looks. The two tour guides helped us chose a bike. I'd hoped they'd all be pretty pink ones with baskets on the front, but it was a random tangle of scary Sporty Ones. Where was the BELL? How would I cry for help?! My beast had a terrifying 21" frame with a really high crossbar. I called it the Crotch Masher 2000.
There were two guides. They were former couriers, with that lean sculpted-calf appearance that, if a pathetic amateur, might leave you intimidated and tugging at your husband's sleeve, "If you ride off on me, I'll KILL YOU!"
We were told to keep in line behind the front guide and he'd make hand signals telling us when to go or stop or slow down. Nae bother. As we set off I kept my eyes glued to the guide in front and totally blocked out the fact I was in New York otherwise I would have vomited. I couldn't look anywhere but straight ahead and I couldn't change gears because they were twist grip gears and I never knew there was another kind of gear!?
But after five or ten minutes I calmed down. I looked up at a street sign and it said 5th Avenue and I thought Hee hee heeee I'm riding down 5th Avenue! Then a bus whooshed up beside me and I could feel my ribs rattle. The adrenaline kicked in and I spent the next five hours in a state of joy and delirium!
- Brush with death in the West Village! As we approached an intersection I caught sight of a pet shop with a windowful of tiny yapping dogs. "GARETH, LOOK AT THE DOGS!" I yelled and sailed on towards them, at the same time Gareth yelled, "SHAUNA, LOOK AT THE TRUCK!" Luckily the truck had good brakes and the information is now branded on my brain: Americans drive on the right.
- Bruising my lady parts every time I dismounted gigantic bicycle to take another squinty Holding Camera At Arms Length Shot
- Bruising lady parts due to inability to ride in anything other than a straight line therefore barreling through every pothole in the Meatpacking District
- Powering along the Hudson River Greenway – sweet merciful taxi-less bus-less cycle path!
- WALL STREET!
- Riding across the Brooklyn Bridge as the sun was setting and laughing in deranged manner, I can't belieeeeeve I'm on the Brooklyn Briiiiiidge on a biiiiike!
- Dismounting on Bridge then looking back to see the skyline lit up and falling in love with New York for the 457th time that week
- Zooming past the Supreme Court building and making the DUN DUN! noise from Law and Order
- Weaving in and out of traffic in Chinatown, teeth chattering in terror, completely overwhelmed by all the crazy honking and colours and chickens but loving it!
- Scoffing dumplings and sesame pancakes at a nice hole-in-the-wall type of place
- Riding down a grotty little street that could have been anywhere in the world then looking up to see the Empire State glowing in the distance!
So this happened two months ago and only now can I talk about it without getting teary and/or giggling hysterically. I know people ride bikes in cities all the time; my Amazing Adventures may be your tedious commute. But I had never felt so deliriously happy in all my life…
(even during the last half hour of the tour, when the guide that was supposed to stay at the back of the group drifted forward, leaving me and the Old Lady of Kansas to swear and scream and dither when the lights went amber, as to whether to stop and get left behind or go forth and pedal to our deaths)
… I suppose on some cheesy level it was a bit of a Wow I used to be welded to the couch now look at me moment but more it was so deliciously surreal to see places that you've only known from the telly, while on a bicycle, when you used to ride over sheep poo in Australia. It just makes my mind explode sometimes, life and all its possibilities. Now I wish I could go back to every city I've ever visited and see it again from a two-wheeled perspective.