Every time I cycle I think about the weather, intensely. It’s part mindfulness (i.e. I’m thinking about my body, sensations, sounds, smells – I’m very present in the moment, where I am) and then it can veer towards the opposite (i.e. intense judgement of my capacity as a cyclist, resentment towards cars, repulsion at the familiar and foul smell of the garbage truck, self-righteousness that I am part of the ‘solution’ which compounds my feelings towards cars as part of the ‘problem’ – these feelings spiral way out beyond my present affective space and some days I imagine myself in a confrontation with the political architects of Westconnex or an Oil Barron, ‘what are you thinking?’ I say).
Today was cooler, much cooler, than yesterday. It might have been 25, yesterday was 38. I was riding up a hill and I was riding in 2nd/6th gears. On a really hot day I’m in 1st/1st. Today it was easier riding in 2nd/6th than it is riding 1st/1st on a really hot day. Today I got rain soaked down to my undies. Yesterday I sweated inside out from my undies and my whole shirt was soaked. Today I couldn’t actually make it over this puddle below because Jacaranda leaves were clogging it. Yesterday the heat radiated up from the bitumen and fell down from the sky. It’s so full on. Weather inside out. Weather outside in. Weather up. Weather down. Either way I’m surrounded by a changing sensory space, one that I have to push through, one pedal after another, to get to work on time.
Can cycling be a method for Environmental humanities research generally and for exploring the questions of Weathering the City in particular? I’m going to explore this question further. What I know now is that every time I cycle I think about my project. Given the fruit salad of methods in Environmental Humanities, perhaps cycle-commuting could be considered a method of gaining knowledge about the world and the weather (and the economy, and the behaviour of cities, and climate change). Certainly my resentment towards many cars is an affect for the ages! Maybe I need a Go-Pro?
IMAGE 1 & 2: A Cyclist’s version of a ‘nuisance flood’ – Jacaranda leaves blocking a drain on Camden St in Newtown (where I used to live).
IMAGE 3: My Bike sheltering from the deluge in my office.
IMAGE 4: The Temperature at my house on Sunday night around 9.30pm
IMAGES 5 & 6: Weathered Selfies – Rain & Heat