Beware of the Cows

If you think about it, you’d be highly suspicious if you past a field full of people who stopped what they were doing and stared at you silently as you went by. You’d at least feel uneasy that you in particular had been of such interest, especially if you were just going by minding your own business. It would be something you’d mention when you got home. You’d want to know why they all looked at you, why they were in the field in the first place and you’d wander whether or not you should tell the authorities. Yet if you pass a field of cows doing the same thing you would not think anything of it. I think the cows are up to something, I think they’re planning to take over the world…

In the map, the area around Christchurch is called the Canterbury Plains. A flat, vast expanse of mostly farmland where the road stretches ahead for miles without a bend or bump. Ideal for those who are on bicycles, like me. Before I left Christchurch I’d made sure everything was strapped down and balanced as well as I could get it. I deemed my efforts good enough for the roads of Sheffield, so the earthquake damaged roads of Christchurch should be no problem – at least they had been designed flat and smooth before the ‘quake hit. I enjoy cycling and do a lot of mountain biking back home, but I’ve never carried anything heavier than a small bag before and even then only for a short distance. Now though, I had everything with me and I quickly discovered something that all the scientists in the whole of history have so far failed to mention. Bikes have their own gravitational pull, making even the lightest of objects weigh more than they would do normally. The bag my tent comes in says that it weighs three kilos, on a bike that translates into the weight of a small cottage. My clothing; just a few teeshirts and shorts, a weight a child could easily carry, on a bike weigh more than one days entire output of an Indian sweatshop. This computer, whilst I’m using it now is light and easily portable. On a bike it’s the same weight as the WWII Colossus decoding computer. As I cycled along it soon became obvious that anything steeper than going up a kerb would mean getting off and pushing, even the bridges over some rivers were like tackling a mountain. But never the less, once I got up to speed and got a good rhythm going progress was good. On the first day I covered about fifty kilometres (which sounded good until I converted it into miles) and found myself at a campsite by Leighfield Beach. I was done for, exhausted, knackered and hungry. The last thing I wanted to do was build a tent but it had to be done. I promised myself that once that was up, I’d have a shower and something to eat and finally relax. The problem was that I’d never built this tent before and it wasn’t designed like any other tent I’d ever used. It took me two hours of swearing and throwing it around, phoning for help, and sitting staring at it before it was finally put up with the help of a man on the next pitch. All my problems came because I’d got the only two poles the wrong way around. I spent the next day trying not to move at all and I toyed with the idea of just staying in the same place for two weeks, I couldn’t face getting back on the bike.

Boredom, though, is a good motivator. I managed to pack everything so I didn’t have to carry anything on my back, which meant I was glancing over my shoulder every two seconds to make sure my computer hadn’t fallen off. There was no point in continuing to follow State Highway One, I had driven it loads and knew that the next big town was Kaikoura, and I’d already been there. I decided to turn inland and head for Hamner Springs, with a stop over in a place called Balmoral Forest. Before I had been listening to music as I cycled, but I decided to switch it off to save the battery for another time. Following the road ever onwards without music clouding your thoughts means you don’t half think of some weird stuff.

Why do kilometres lie? One sign says one distance and when you think you’ve covered it you find you’re only half way, everything seems further away. Miles are far easier to gauge. How come the Maori name for things, when translated, always mean something like ‘good fishing spot’ or ‘tall mountain’? Never anything like Leeds, or Everest. How come other people on biking holidays make it look so easy, seemingly zooming up the hills? Why are some cows black and white? It serves no purpose. Sheep never look at you as you go by, they have big woolly coats to protect them against the weather and can hide in snow. Cows have no camouflage, how did they evade predators in times past? Maybe they’re not originally of this planet. They stand staring at things for hours to work out what it does and how works and then, when the time is right, they’ll rebel against humankind. It doesn’t matter if we eat a few of them because there will always be more, they’ve even begun to be popular in China. Their numbers are growing. Maybe they’re psychic somehow, that’s why they all look at you at exactly the same time. Its to make sure you haven’t sussed them out yet. That’s why you always hear of people being trampled, the cows judge that their secret is out and decide to stomp the problem.

Next time, I’m going to make sure my batteries are charged up on my music player. Inside my head is too strange a place to be in for long…

Mini Count :- 45 Can we get to fifty before home time?

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About Steven R Harrison

Greetings! Thank you for having a look at my blog. On here you will find my epic adventure around New Zealand that I undertook in 2011-12, now available to buy with more pictures and in hard back entitled 'Blogs, Bikes & Jelly Beans' from Lulu.com and Amazon. Since returning to Blighty I have been writing my next novel, Attack of the Atomic Airships, which will soon be available to buy from all the usual channels. For now though, since my travelling days are 'on hold' for the time being, I hope you will enjoy some 'Flash Fiction,' that is, fiction of around 1000 words or less. The subjects are varied, but usually gravitate toward SF. The first one is called Continue? Yes / No. I hope you enjoy it!
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