Hong Kong: Three weeks into this sabbatical, yesterday was the first weekday that didn’t actually feel like a workday. I had no commitments on the calendar and took full advantage of my freedom. It felt like a Saturday. It felt decadent. I’ll be a happy fellow if every day can be as good as this one.
I got up at 6:15, per my normal corporate routine and saw my son off to school at 7am. But that’s where the routine ended. I then lingered over breakfast and coffee and getting up to speed on all the news on my Ipad. At 8:30am, at a time when many Hong Kongers were rushing to work, I found myself in the midst of morning rush hour traffic too. But I was going the opposite direction from the Central business district. I drove out to Lantau island, parked at Sunny Bay, then hopped onto my new BFF: my brand spanking new touring bike, which I christened Bubba Too.
My Cannondale carbon fiber bike (aka Bubba) got me across North America in good shape. But for my upcoming ride across Europe, I need a heavy-duty bike that can go the distance and carry a load. I settled on the Surly (an American made-bike) Long Haul Trucker. It’s made of steel and it feels like a tank. Bubba Too is solid and strong, whereas Bubba is light and fast. Bubba Too should be able to transport me and all my stuff up and down across the European landscape.
It feels strange and conspicuous riding a touring bike in Hong Kong, when all the other cyclists have bikes built for speed and agility and flash. It’s as if I’ve shown up for a beach party and everyone is wearing speedos and bikinis and I am dressed in heavy winter gear. I am hoping Bubba Too will feel at home plodding on the backroads of Europe.
I ordered Bubba Too from the US and yesterday’s ride was my third outing on this bike. But navigating the hills of Lantau was a real get-to-know-you session between bike and master. I rode from Disneyland, over the killer Tung Chung Pass to the Big Buddha at Po Lin Monastery, to the fishing village of Tai O, before returning back to Disneyland. In total I cycled 88km and climbed 1600 meters and was drenched from the workout.
I also witnessed a collision between a taxi driver and a cyclist at Disneyland. The cyclist was a few meters ahead of me, and he’s a very lucky guy. While he was scraped up, this accident could have been much worse. After calling the police I waited with the cyclist until things were under control, and I chastised the taxi driver for his carelessness.
Today went to a different speed. I had a speaking engagement at the Rotary Club Golden Mile in Kowloon. It was a fun and lively audience. I spoke on the subject of chasing dreams and finding balance, and said that cycling is a good metaphor for life. Einstein said it best: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
Here’s a link to the map of my ride, and all the gory details — including the 3,316 calories I burned according to Garmin: