TOMORROW MORNING, WE RIDE. by Briony Mattocks of Sydney


I'm at work, dialed in to a conference call, staring out the window. My eyes shift to my miniature Eddy Merckx figurine that sits on my desk (he makes all the big decisions around here) and my mind starts to wander. I’m thinking about the noise my rear hub makes as I fly down Bobbin Head, whether I could improve my Akuna Bay climb time if I hit the big ring before the half way gate and that awesome feeling of fresh, crisp ocean air on my face when we ride one of the many routes along the beaches. But alas, I’m here, in a suit, in the office and someone in this meeting just mentioned my name. Shit.

For many of us, our jobs just seem to get in the way of riding. Sure, we get to work with some cool people, our pay checks keep the bills at bay (which does notably include bills from our local bike store) and like most corporate kids, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t quite ambitious. But right now I could really just ditch the rest of my afternoon and hit the road. The good news is, I have found a way to get my fix! It takes a bit of coordination, a bit of self motivation and an alarm sounding at a time that will initially make you vomit a bit in your mouth - but it's totally worth it. It's a commute to work, but not as you might know it.

It starts usually at about 5am, but has been known to be as early as 3:30am. It doesn't involve a backpack full of underwear and sandwiches, nor does it involve every item of your clothing being fluro yellow. It starts at my place of residence and it ends at my place of work, but there is between 60 and 130km's of awesome riding in between. I've planned it so everything I need is at work already, my bike and kit is ready to go, my lights are charged, I've gone to bed a bit earlier than normal and I've checked I have no 8am meetings.

I'm talking about going out on dawn patrol - the act of getting up and getting out there before the world has woken up. Only a handful of cars, no pedestrians, just some awesome climbing, wicked descending, an unbelievable sunrise and an amazing feeling of accomplishment when you eventually do get to work having already ridden for hours (while everybody else complains about the train being overcrowded and slow). You can go in any direction and on any route - beaches, national parks, gorges and even hit the dirt on the mountain or cross bike. 

Getting up is the hardest part - but once you are out there, you realize it's all worth it. Earlier this week myself and two mates rode from Sydney up the old Pacific Highway to the Central Coast (two solid climbs and three super fun descents), made a quick stopover for coffee and toast, jumped on the 7am Ettalong Ferry over to Palm Beach and proceeded to ride down the Northern Beaches into Sydney CBD. Not the most direct way to work by any means, but I'll argue there are not too many better ways to start a working day!

Side effects? I eat a fair bit during the day and I get a bit tired in the afternoon, but if you do it semi-regularly, this all normalizes. I've not only got my fix, but I'm building a solid base of kilometers and I'm enjoying the amazing sights my city (and it's many surrounds) has to offer. Most importantly, the little Eddy figurine approves of my efforts to "ride lots".