Thursday, July 25, 2013

A pastoral visit to Uncle Ken in Mandurah, by bicycle of course!

In the olden days, the French Catholic priests used to visit their parish on their bicycles and they often ride handlebars that are arc shape. Priest handlebars are much much ergonomic then straight ones like MTB and one reason I have kept my 20 year old Bridgestone XO5 is because its one of the few bicycles in the world that comes standard with such a handlebar. For that, we have to give credit to Grant Peterson, the eccentric marketing guru of Bridgestone bicycles in the 1990s.

When I heard that Uncle Ken recently had a cataract operation, I proposed a pastoral visit to encourage him. The fact that he lived all the way down south in Mandurah made it even more appealing to go see good old Ken, on my trusty bicycle. Patrick who is always game for 100km rides tagged along and so did Philip, who joins us every now and then. Both of them rode racers with ultra skinny high pressure tires, while Rod the evergreen and I rode our cushy tyred hybrids. We felt like Lancaster bombers flying alongside with 2 Spitfires.

The ride down to Mandurah was helped by a nice light tailwind. It sprinkled the night before and that left the paths slightly wet but there was a sense of freshness in the air. We set off Bull Creek Station at 830am where we met Patrick who cycled down from Hammersley - 27km north. As expected, the 2 Spitfires took off from the word go.

Philip's Pinarello all painted with sexy red bits flew into the horizon with Pat's vintage Shogun racer nipping on its tail. Our bombers were just happy to cruise along merrily and I did enjoy a lovely chat with Rod until I sense something was amiss. I had forgotten my padded shorts and did not have my faithful Brooks B17 for this long ride!

The Spitfires were nice enough to wait for us and it was encouraging to know they did not have to wait too long. This stretch is about 60km and we stopped every 20km for a drink and some snacks which my Ortelib carried dutifully. It was nice to see people using this beautiful bike path that is so well made. We noticed one young Dad with a child trailer passed by with a flat tire. Pat, kind as always, jumped to the rescue with a pump but to no avail - the tube was busted and we could not offer one, at least in that size.

That marked the start of more tire problems for both the Spitfires. Pat had a leaking front wheel and so did Philip. It wasn't so bad as we had only a quarter of the trip left. We arrived at Mandurah Train station at 1145am, just a tad over 3 hours, rest stops included and rolled into Ken's front gate just after twelve.

Ken and his wife Barbara were very pleased to see us and made us a lovely chicken soup with plenty of rolls and butter. Famished, we polished the meal with much gusto and appreciation. It was good to see Uncle Ken making a good recovery and he was so excited to be able to see a whole new world, one of detail, colors and clarity and we rejoice with him. God's mercies are amazing.

Though my bottom was rather sore, the priest handlebars were supremely comfortable and I had no aches on my wrists, arms, shoulders or neck. We rode the hi speed train back home, feeling very glad that we could bring some cheer to dear old Ken and with 70km under my saddle. All in a day's work, I reckon.

Matthew 20:32-34 Jesus stopped and called them. 'What do you want Me to do for you?' He asked. 'Lord,' they answered, 'we want our sight.' Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him.

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