I launched the school holidays with a decisive act of leisure, cycling between two randomly-selected grid references of the Melway street directory. Each square was selected by three calculations of Excel’s =randbetween function, once each for the map number, horizontal A-K and vertical 1-10. Result: 192 F10 to 129 G8; which, translated, means a paddock in Merricks to a skate park in Cranbourne North.
192 F10 smelt like manure (cow on the ground; horse by the bag) and the sea. Laughter drifted from Merricks General Wine Store at the top corner of the square. Out front, a black labrador wound its red leash around a pole. I looked out past trees to Phillip Island. When I turned back, Wayne was gripping a four-dollar cappuccino.
We rode north, traversing the peninsula’s liminal zone marked by family businesses (horse float repairs; capeweed spraying) and minor tourist attractions. “What is that?” I asked, gesturing at a chained-up tyrannosaur. “It’s Dinosaur World,” Wayne replied. His pannier had come loose. “How many times has it fallen off,” I asked – “lots of times?” “Once would be lots of times,” he replied. “Take heart!” I announced in Pearcedale before setting off in the wrong direction. We’d almost reached Frankston before working it out.
Rain was coming at 129 G8 so we explored the square quickly, barked at by a barely-fenced great dane. A school at the top of the square would have given shelter were it not gated like a jail. Instead we huddled in a bus shelter, eating the last of the chocolate. We’d ridden 68 kilometres, mostly into the wind.