The art of a cycle path psychopath
I thought that pedalling to the office and back would simply be a case of hitting the cycle paths on two wheels, wearing a helmet and keeping an eye out for pedestrians. I was wrong.
It appears that being a newcomer and a non-sport obsessed Brit, I have once again failed to grasp a popular aspect of life in Australia - cycling.
I've started using a bike to get to work, and with no experience or knowledge of cycling either socially or professionally, I had no idea I was entering a competitive hierarchy of skin-tight uniforms, funny shoes and wheels as expensive as a car.
I thought that pedalling to the office and back would simply be a case of hitting the cycle paths on two wheels, wearing a helmet and keeping an eye out for pedestrians.
I was wrong.
You're not simply using a bike to commute to work, you are in fact entering a ruthless contest of pumping thighs, Lycra, and pulling Derek Zoolander's Blue Steel facial expressions at anyone coming in the opposite direction while trying not to look out of breath.
And, unless you're in it to win it, stay out the way, because it's also a competition between the cyclist and everything else that moves.
But as I commit myself to a journey free of packed trains, cramped buses and congested roads, I have picked up on a few things to help me fit in more with other cyclists.
Firstly, a good way to escape the pressure of the contest is to ride a bike with other people.
With at least two of you covering both lanes of the cycle path, you can force pedestrians and other cyclists coming from the opposite direction out of the way. Like the losers they clearly are.
If you're really good, you'll have a team of cyclists on expensive, fast bikes who rule the path as a band of professional looking Lycra bandits who treat every journey like a leg of the Tour de France.
Just like the group who forced me into a fence by refusing to slow down on the incorrect side of the cycle path between Perth and Subiaco, near a section recently enhanced with safety features, painted bright green and labelled "share zone".
Obviously I apologised to this group as clearly cycling alone on the correct, left side, of the path I deserved to be ignored and knocked off my wheels by a swarm of cycle path psychopaths coming at me head on.
But so far I've failed to form my own band of bicycle warriors, and it's not for a lack of trying.
In a bid to make a cycling buddy on your travels, there are only two things you can do.
You can slow down to a fellow cyclist's pace as you overtake, maintain their speed and then smile politely as they look at you with a "what the hell are you doing?" expression.
But you do need to be aware that it may just result in them continuing to slow down until eventually you both just grind to a halt and you stand there grinning like a deranged stalker on a bike.
Alternatively, after a few seconds of matching their speed and you've made it clear you have no desire to actually overtake, your potential pedal partner will probably speed up.
Forcing you to cycle faster to keep up.
And before you know it you've become locked in some weird race with a stranger that ends at the nearest police station and you've gone from being a suspected stalker to accusations of a bike-jacker.
But it's not just riding solo, single file, and considerately to others that I've been getting wrong. Apparently my entire outfit is completely wrong, and compared to others, just plain embarrassing.
I've been wearing an old T-shirt and shorts. Practical to quickly change out of when I get to work and not too valuable enough to hold back from any wear and tear from the occasional full-on, sweaty workout.
But instead it appears I'm supposed to be wearing a flash, tight-fitted Lycra outfit that shows off my erect nipples, is full of random logos and that isn't breathable so I have to wear it zipped down to my hairy belly button.
And to complete the ensemble I should get those special shoes that clip into my pedals.
Not because I need to improve my cycling technique, but so that while I'm cooling off outside a coffee shop on a Sunday morning with a well-maintained beer gut poking out of my open bike suit I can irritate people having their breakfast by limping around clicking the ground like a drowsy tap dancer who's gone missing from the local fringe festival.
But despite my failure to grasp the basics of riding a bike in Australia, I would like to reassure my fellow bike users that I will keep trying.
For instance, another error I keep making is thinking that I'm supposed to be using a well-maintained cycle path as a safe way to get to work.
When actually what I should have been doing is admiring accessibility and location of the specifically designed bike route from the busy two-lane highway right next to it.
Why would anyone settle for such a restrictive amount of space away from dangerous, fast moving vehicles when there's the freedom of the openly congested road right next to it?
Other motorists even welcome you in with beeping horns as they line up behind you, before speeding past close enough to high five your helmet.
Not to mention how easy it is to cycle in lanes of traffic as drivers merge perfectly around you and all the other vehicles.
In absolutely no way is it unsafe, inconsiderate and a risk to anyone's lives.
So with these observations in mind I'm heading to the sports shop later looking for my own skin-tight suit to strategically stuff my sunglasses case into and bring on a more confident, competitive attitude to my daily 30-minute bike ride to work.
I'm also going to start paying more attention to the world of professional cycling to pick up any more insights.
And I'm going to start by reading this book I picked up in a bargain bin by some guy called Lance Armstrong who seems to know a thing or two about how to beat other people who take riding a bike very, very seriously.