Anyone wishing to test their endurance or general state of health should push a heavy motorbike along – not even up – a road and I quickly (re)-discovered that this odious task does not come without certain side benefits.
To begin with, it’s a wonderful examination of your heart, because if your ticker, or anything else for that matter, is going to give out, it’ll give out here! The twin feats of balancing and pushing very soon take their toll and in no time at all you’re sweating like a beaver from every pore as you gasp for air.
It’s another, wonderfully ‘detaching’ experience however, which drives those pesky, monkey-mind thoughts clean out of your head as your concentration and all your efforts are riveted to the here and now. It’s not dissimilar from the neutral space I was describing earlier, only this is more of an active process as you’re driven from your comfort zone in a hurry.
Where, a little earlier, the countryside was sailing past, now I’m nose-to-nose with Nature. Prunes de France bushes wink at me from the hedgerow with fleshy, red eyes and the distinct perfume of Frangipani flowers is everywhere. From his kitchen garden a stooped, old farmer waves, gifting me a toothless grin. Cackling, he mimics me pushing my machine along the tarmac in front of his house, my face now puffy and bloodshot from the strain, as one look in the mirror confirms.
A strong breeze, remnant of the now-fading south east trade winds reaches me from over the ocean, saltiness on every gust and mingling with the scents of flowers. The engine is still hot and the threat of a burn gets in the way of my pushing efficiently while one look up and down the tarmac confirms to me that I’m not going to get much help from passing cars. (TBC)