I often call my bike a mechanical horse because riding a bike reminds me of riding a horse, except I feel much more in control. I also think there are parallels between the devotion many cyclists pay to their favourite pastime, and the passion that others display for their equine companions. I do confess that I’m rather scared of riding a horse. I feel totally out of control and at the whim of a very powerful creature.
I feel that it is fitting to write about the ‘mechanical horse’ on Melbourne Cup Day. For those who dwell overseas the Melbourne Cup is a horse race that is often called ‘the race that stops the nation’ which is always on the first Tuesday in November. In fact, people in Melbourne have a public holiday to celebrate it. Unfortunately I don’t have a public holiday but I do enjoy the day off work, as I do every Tuesday.
The Melbourne Cup is an unusually long horse race at 3,200 metres (two miles). The fastest any horse has ridden in the famous race was in 1990 when the winner Kingston Rule reached a top speed of 58.7 km per hour. That’s faster than I ride my mechanical horse most of the time. I only reach that type of speed when I’m riding down a big hill.
So I’ll sign off now so I can head out to celebrate the Melbourne Cup, and hopefully win a modest amount. For the record I’m planning to back a horse called Ventura Storm because my first road bike was a Jamis Ventura. Wish me luck.